Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bonus Post - Finn's Portillo Envelope

Last Saturday I posted a burger envelope that was addressed to Finnbadger, but the PO returned it to me. This was the second attempt to get the September exchange envelope sent to Finnbadger. The burger envelope is enclosed in the hot dog bag/envelope.

That red *finn* is covering up a black *finn* that was sloppy. After I added the red finn, I really wanted to change 3rd and Ohio to red - but did not have time.

I'm not the worst junk food junkie. I only allow myself a minimum number of trips to junk food places. I should probably balance the junk food postings with some of my healthier food options.

A previously scheduled off-topic post is below this one.

Off-topic - Witch Windows

Vermont is on my short list of places I would live if I had to move. On the day I was filling up the rest of the year and decided to go off-topic every Saturday, I ran across this photo. I clicked on the article and thought it was interesting.

witch windows

I happened across this photo when I was surfing through the Mother Nature Network.
Tons and tons of articles and videos.
I found it to be such a black hole of temptation that I am not going to provide a link. If you are a interested, you can just Google it and you'll find it.

It's July 23 on the day I am writing this. I feel a binge coming on. I saved all my Dec 2016 mail to post in Nov or Dec or 2017. I think I saved the October 2016 mail to post in September. It's crazy how fast the year goes.... I already filled up the first half of September...

Maybe I just need to work 11 months ahead. That way all my posts would be seasonally appropriate. Decisions decisions.

Friday, September 29, 2017

June Exchange from Amy(CA) and Grace

These two are a very happy pair - using the eclipse stamp.

Amy(CA) did a good job of wrapping the name around the sphere to make it look 3D.

Grace did a good job of choosing a second stamp to cover the charge for a square envelope. Her rounded lettering is nice complement to the stamp.

i like the two different ways of depicting space...dots -or- concentric circles.

Below is a close up where I put my thumb on the left stamp to make the moon show up. So cool.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

June Exchange form Finn and Amy

Two very nice designs from Finnbadger and Amy. They do not have a lot in common other than the restrained palette...but they look nice together.

Finn's on top is a page from an article about someone who does a new chalkboard drawing every day....that would be fun....

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Susan Branch - somewhat off topic

Back in July, I saw this blog post by Susan Branch. I have always admired her style. The link has a really long post about Beatrix Potter - full of links to learn more about Beatrix.

Susan has announced a gathering -in England- in May, 2018 - to visit Beatrix Potter's home. Hopefully one of my readers will go on the trip and send me a postcard.

I need to make a map inspired by this....maybe I can think of a place to have a picnic...and invite all y'all.
How about the Holiday Inn at O'Hare. Pretty much every place on earth can get a direct flight to O'Hare.

Below is a tidbit from the blog post. Please note that she assumes that only her *girlfriends* will show up. I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket and if I win, I am going to book the trip for Finnbadger and Eric. I really want them crash the party. I know they will behave. Heck --- if I win the lottery, I might even attend. Finn and Eric, please pencil in the cases I do win the lottery.

We’re having our BYO Picnic Basket Party right here, next May 11, at Castle Cottage, where Beatrix Potter (Mrs. Heelis) and her husband William lived for 30 years! Just in front of the house, across Post Office Meadow (which will be filled with frolicking lambikins in May), is the gate to Hill Top in Near Sawrey, heavenly Lake District, beloved home of Beatrix Potter!!! That’s where we’re going, Girlfriends!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

June Exchange from Troy and Maggie

Troy (top) and Maggie (below).
Similar colors.
Different styles.
Troy's is big, bold and fills up the space...
Maggie's is more delicate and leaves some white space.

I also like how the PO chose a big bold cancel on Troy's and a much more complementary circle on Maggie's that echoes her lace doilies.

Can't you just picture the postal workers pondering which cancel they use to complement the design? It is always lots of fun when you go to the counter for a hand cancel and the clerk really cares about where they are going to place the cancel.

Monday, September 25, 2017

June Exchange from Eric and Pam

These two were very summery - back in June. Eric's is digital and Pam's looks like a rubber stamp that is nicely colored in.

For those of you who need design lessons. Squint at Pam's and imagine it without the strip of dark tape at the bottom. It would be nice - but that strip of dark adds so much to the overall design of the envelope.

And here is the kicker....notice how there are three things lined up to the right and white space on the left. It is IMHO so much nicer than if strip of tape had been in the left corner and there was a strong diagonal from corner to corner. There are no hard and fast rules - but I have a very strong preference for things that do not lead your eyes into opposite corners.

The kids facing east also contributes to the harmony and balance of the right justified layout. The cancel adds to the design. I find that I am frequently pondering how an envelope will look after it is canceled. Not that I can control it - but it's fun to see cancels that work well with the other elements.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

June Exchange from Florence

Florence has done some other big loopy envelopes. Her return address is in the upper left corner - although I covered it up. Her note inside was about a postal worker giving her a *talking to* about putting the return address on the back. I know others have heard that from postal workers...but...I am going to continue to request return addresses on the back because I do not want to deal with covering up return addresses on ALL the exchange envelopes. A few - are OK...but if I have to do it on all of them...I'll whine.

I love this layout....
and the extra addresses tucked into the loops. I guess I am lucky to have two dots in my name. Now I am curious to know who on the exchange list has the most dots....

looks like Phillip, jannie, and Nanski Drewski are the others with two dots. And I suspect Nanski Drewski only came up with a pen-name because her legal name has no dots at all.
Nobody has three dots....
MissMississippi has a bunch - but, again, that's not exactly CathyO's legal name.

I am pretty sure I already posted this one - but will post it again - just in case my memory is foggy.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bonus Post - Pushing Too Far (Burger)

 On Thursday, I finally got my exchange envelopes in the mail. On Friday this one came back. You can see how I wrote my return address on the back (below) and it indicates that the PO will pick up on traditional lettering before it stops to check the creative lettering. I am now concerned that maybe this style is not good for mail art. Very bad news if a bunch of them come back as I used this style on about 20 envelopes.

I chose this style because after nearly 4 years of sabbatical, I am teaching again and I wanted to introduce it to my new class. This blog originated in 2010 because I wanted a way to stay in touch with people who took classes.

So, lesson learned about pushing the envelope styles of lettering. Don't push this far and for sure, do not make your return address big and bold and legible if the outgoing address is a bit challenging.

The envelope is made out of a place mat from a Steak 'n' Shake - a burger place that is older than McDonalds (1939 vs 1940/1955) I stop there when driving between Des Moines and Chicago because it is one of the better options on Interstate 80. In-N-Out is still my favorite fast burger.

Today's regular post is below - and it is an off topic post.

Off Topic - Bullseye Dessert (Zebra Cake)

We hardly ever talk about food on the blog, but this dessert caught my eye. You can click on the link and see how it is made - which is pretty much how you would guess, you just keep pouring - alternating batters - in the middle of the previous pour.

Bulls-Eye Dessert

I guess I like how it represents the rings of a tree. You could make a cake with the number of years of the birthday.

After I typed Bulls-eye cake, I clicked Google translate and see that they call it zebra cake. I'm amazed that this craze has not swept our nation...yet. Sadly, the black is licorice - I was hoping it was chocolate.

To tie this to the blog - I will admire the quirky lettering. You do not need an exemplar. You just write tall and skinny and put extra space between the letters....

Friday, September 22, 2017

Bonus Post - Handwriting Police T-Shirt

Here is my t-shirt from the first convention that I attended in 2001. I will be attending the 2018 IAMPETH convention in Milwaukee.

Maybe they will reissue the design. I bet it would be popular.

Today's regular post is below.

June Exchange from JeanR

There wasn't another exchange envelope to pair with this one - and I think JeanR's idea deserves to go solo.

It's a nice monochromatic envelope and the idea of adhering quotes is really nice...
the layering is also nice.

The style of writing is called foundational. It is not a popular style and not many people seek it out as one they want to learn, but it is one of the very best to work on if you want to hone your skills with a broad edge pen.

To exchangers.
My envelopes have gone out.
They are very late.
But I am in good company.
Early-bird -or- last-minute-er.
Whatever works.

Note to self: send an email to the procrastinator conference and ask if there are any studies on how some people get more creative at the last minute.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

June Exchange from Tina

Not a ransom note - says Tina. Love it.
Also, I appreciate the time it must have taken to do this one. I also like the way the stamps compliment the letters. Or maybe it is the other way around - she chose letters to complement the stamps.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

June Exchange from Smash, KathyS, Debbie and Nanski

The top two, Smash (top) and KathyS (below) are zen-like in their layouts.
the other two are from Debbie (top) and Nanski (below). Notice how Debbie signed her artwork.
Nice idea for anyone who likes to sign their art....
I tend to forget...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

June Exchangers - Kate and CathyO

There was a new Kate in the June exchange. Her envelope is the one on top. Very fun outlining and fruit and border - stealworthy.

Below is CathyO's pointed pen with metallic ink. Good luck stealing that idea---unless you're really good with pointed nibs and ink.

Now - Cathy did give complete credit to someone on IG who posted a guitar. Phyllis (sorry Cathy, I can't make out what her last name is) Her IG name is Fpmmac. I do not know if IG is case sensitive.

I also do not know the etiquette of being inspired and then posting....since none of this is for sale, I'm assuming it is just fine. If it isn't, Cathy and I will be happy to go to prison as long as we get to be cellmates. That's a joke.

Monday, September 18, 2017

June Exchangers - Kate and Lynne

Kate (top) and Lynne (below) both chose the green Oscar de la Renta stamp. Kate's design is a leafy collage. It reminds me of Eric Carle's hungry caterpillar. Back in my teaching-little-kids years we had a huge stash of paper that was painted in the Eric Carle style. It inspired some very nice artwork and I was always wishing I had time to do my, maybe I should make my own stash of Eric Carle paper...will label this to return to it...

Yesterday's post was the June exchange envelope featuring an envelope made out of a calendar page. Here is Phillip's blog post that shows all of the envelopes:

WPA poster stamps on handmade envelopes

Sunday, September 17, 2017

June Exchange from Finnbadger

Finnbadger made an envelope out of a calendar. On his blog, I believe he posted others from the same calendar. The WPA posters were perfect. Sadly, I did not even get any of the WPA stamps - and they are so perfect for mail art. Although, I have yet to find a stamp that isn't.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Inspiration and procrastination conference

This reminds me of several previously posted envelopes with dots and borders. I found it here

On a very hot day in late July, too hot to go outside, a perfect day to get a lot done, a perfect day to surf, I stumbled across the 10th annual Procrastination Research Conference. Wow. It was in Chicago. I could have gone. The program lists all the presentations. Most of them would have been over my head. But, it would have been fun to see the *posters.* Apparently they have presentations as well as *posters.* I'm very curious about what or why they have posters....maybe someone knows about such things.

For anyone who needs to procrastinate - here is the link:

This post will be labeled stealworthy - and hopefully I remember to come back and do my own variation of this one.

It was also interesting to note that this envelope led me to this one:
at this blog - which seems to have ended in 2016:

That envelope was the inspiration for the one below:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Head exploding revisited

There is a bonus post below this one.

In the spring of 2016 I made some references to my head exploding and two of my pen pals (Carol and Smashgirl) sent really fun envelopes.

Then on July 17th, I saw an item about how it was International Emoji Day - and several new emojies were being released - including the one with the exploding head.

When I tried to locate an image to post, I found out there were 5 different ones. And I quickly lost interest in the whole topic. However, I do want to give a shout out to anyone who is muddling through the days/months/years of head-exploding-situations that most of us face from time to time. Hang in there.

And thank you again to Carol and Smash-girl. Anyone interested in emojis can google - head exploding emojies.

Confusion and mini-rant (Bonus post)

I read my own blog and I noticed that on Wed, I said I would post the rest of the wacky envelopes on Thursday and then on Friday I would re-post them showing them finished. If I have a picture of them finished, I have no idea where it is. Here is a link to Nanski's after it arrived at her house.

Nanski's blog

 Then...yesterday... Nanski left a comment suggesting that the celebrate stamp would be good for the wacky envelopes and I left a comment saying that the forever celebrate stamp would have been nice -color-wise-  but I get queasy looking at that stamp because it looks like 5 yellow worms. Plus....the 42-cent celebrate stamp was one of my all-time favorites and I get sad every time I am reminded that there is a better design that isn't being used. It's really nice to have these kinds of emotional issues to focus on. It puts the rest of the world in perspective. That was a joke - in case anyone is reading my blog for the first time and has not learned that my morning coffee is usually too strong.

Anyhow, I will let all y'all weigh in.
Is there anyone who thinks that the neon celebrate is better than the patchwork celebrate?

I love the lettering and the spirals and the sparkles. It's just the worms that make no sense and offend my eyes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wacky Week to Skip, Amy and Cathy (Step one)

It will be hard to decide which stamps to use on these three. There are birthday candles tucked in to Skip's and Amy's. I used three sizes of black markers. Large = Prismacolor chisel. Medium = Sharpie (which is their extra-fine) and Pigma-Micron size 01 for the finest lines.

You can see how different this style turns out depending on which letters are used. So much extra black on Amy's = compared to Cathy's

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bonus Post - Oscar's Spring Collection

Below this is today's regular post.

I try to stay on topic but anyone who knows me in person knows I have a fondness for clothing with writing and scribbles. I wish I had kept a photo of all the different clothing I have had with letters and words. I campaigned for my first dress with an alphabet design was when I was 4 or 5. I saw the fabric in the store and had to harangue on my mom to go back and buy it and make me a dress. I still have some scraps of the fabric. I know I have a photo of me in the dress. I'll have to post it next time I run across it.

Yesterday I had a ton of other stuff I should have been doing, instead I was surfing and I wasn't even surfing through clothing - so I do not know how I ended up at Oscar de la Renta's 2018 spring collection - but it made me happy that I surf. There are over 50 designs. Some are pretty wacky. If I have time, I might try doing a series of envelopes that are inspired by the designs. I really like the first dress. I can see black scribbles filling up the top of the envelope. My only complaint is that on too many of the dresses he has clearly just written his name. I'm not a big fan of wearing clothes with other people's names on them.....but that's just me. I am sure that I would be splashing my name all over clothes if I were a designer.
oscar's spring 2018

Wacky Week - July Exch - Kristin

I'm running out of things to say about this series so I'll post all the rest tomorrow and then on Friday, I will post the finished envelopes - when I decided what colors and stamps to use.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wacky Week - July Exch - Sara

I hesitated to make this one as difficult to read as the others in this series. I have about 5 of these plain black and white ones and have too many ideas about how to add stamps and colors....

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wacky Week - July Exch - Nanski

After the series of this style where I started with wide bands of colors and layered the black lettering on top, it occurred to me that I could try some without the colored bands. Sadly, for people who like variety, I became obsessed with this style and you will have to put up with an entire week of it.

I have toyed with the idea of making 2018 into a very organized year where there is a specific theme each week. Luckily, I am writing this post on July 13th and I have almost half a year to decide if I want to be that organized.

Is anyone going to try this style?
Has anyone already tried it - when it was on colored bands?
Does anyone like it better when the bands are somewhat straight instead of slightly arched?

The street address will go in the white space between the name and city/state/zip.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Faye's Floral - July Exchange

On a trip to the Post Office, I was greeted by a really nice person who was new to the PO or new to that branch. She was so cheerful and pleasant. She was also intent on getting me to buy these stamps. I didn't really want them, but I did not want to hurt her feelings - so I bought them. Then, after I couldn't come up with any envelope ideas that I loved that coordinated with them ---  I decided to just use them up as fast as possible.

The base lettering is done with Tombo brush markers. They are very soft and flexible. Normally I just use them for script, but I thought it would be fun to do plain block lettering. Nothing that wows me - but not wretched.
Fair to middlin'.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lynne - with no stamp

Another in the series where I was using PITT markers to make letters that are somewhat like Neuland. Neuland is an all-cap font. But, lots of us use the same general strokes to make lower case. I was really happy with this - but it is not on an envelope - so it is going to get sent inside Lynne's July exchange envelope - unless I keep it to remind me to do more like this....
if you did not find it in your envelope Lynne, trust me, some day it will show up....

Part of my organizing binge includes putting notes on items that tell my heirs where to dispose of my stuff - should I get *returned-to-sender* in a sudden and unexpected event.

The last time I was at the cell phone store, I asked the young guy who was helping me what happened to the three people who were bundled into my plan if I died. He looked like a deer in the headlights. I'm sure he had never heard the question before. Fortunately, the 40-something fellow-worker who was standing close enough to hear the question was able to tell me that one of the other people on my plan would have to bring in a death certificate and then they could transfer the plan into that person's name. If any money is owed on the deceased's phone, they forgive that, there you have it. Some extra info you might need some day.

I also heard some alarming news about macaroni and cheese and was going to get all twitter-pated about that, but the very next news item was about the recent cases of actual plague that we all remember from the 1300s. People have been predicting that it might crop up the bubonic plague is on its way - I'm not going to be too worried about what I eat.

Note-to-self: try to sound more normal in the next post.

Friday, September 8, 2017

4th Nancy Hills Friday

It would be fun to have something from Nancy every Friday. Sadly, this is the last one. Maybe she will see this post and take pity on us and send some more....

....and I hope I have time to go to my vintage stamp store and see if I can score another sheet of these stamps. There were 8 different flowers. Actually, 7 flowers and one bird. A really beautiful series.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Three balls for Tina (July Exchange)

I have not decided if I will use the soccer ball or the golf ball on this one. I need to use three stamps to send this one to England. Obviously I will use the kickball and the tennis ball.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Basket balls for Troy and Kathy (July Exchange)

The scalloped edge on Rachael's, yesterday, took a lot of time. I pondered no scallops and just outlined scallops which reminded me of a bouncing ball. The brighter green on Kathy's is a little better.

On Troy's, I made a wide black stripe and meant to write in white - but forgot. Maybe I can put the house number in the black stripe and the street in the green stripe.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Volley ball for Rachael (July Exchange)

There will be four in this series using the sheet of stamps with eight different balls used in sports. The first layer was made with PITT markers. Then black lines and lettering. Pretty easy and a whole lotta fun

Monday, September 4, 2017

Chuck's Soccer Ball - July Exchange

Another experiment where I was thinking I could send a postcard - but will be putting this inside another envelope. The experiment part was using the PITT markers for Neuland.

I watched the best video about the history of the company that makes the PITT markers - Faber-Castell.

Someday I will find the note-to-self that has the link and post it here. Or maybe I can find it if I Google it....

(1 minute later)

Yes, if you Google - history of faber-castell - there are tons of hits. I don't have time to re-search and find the video - but if you have a ton of time and are curious - you can start working your way through the links. The video has footage of a current family member and Oh.My.Gosh - if ever there was a distinguished pencil aficionado to be the leader of pencil people ---it would be him...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

June Exchange from Jannie

Flowers from Jannie. Up close it looks like she starts with paint and then after it dries, she goes back over it with a black marker. I like the way she combined the current stamp with a vintage stamp - although the size and weight did not require the extra stamp. Maybe she is just trying to use up stamps. The black on the vintage stamp complements the black in her artwork. Maybe she just needed some black...I know I struggle with stamps that do not have any black as I frequently use black as the element that finishes up the project. Except for when I start with black and then fill in.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Susan's Baseball - July Exchange

This was probably started in June when I was thinking of doing 4th of July envelopes for the July exchange. I was experimenting on some card stock, thinking I could send postcards. Somehow, I just can't make myself do postcards, so I am going to put this one inside another envelope. The baseball stamp would have been lovely - but, since I only get two per page, I think I will just use it on the outer envelope.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sept Exchange Sign-up + Nancy Hills Friday - 3

Third of four in our Nancy Hills series. Great inspiration for the September exchangers.

Sign up is Sept 1-4.
Lists will be sent out on Sept 5 or 6.

I need the following information.
Please type it in upper and lower case.
I do need you to type the info each time you sign up as I am too lazy to open old documents and copy and paste. I know that is lazy - but that's just how I am - sorry:

your email

Please send it to:

jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

If you are having a birthday in September 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 September 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 Sept 4th. Lists will be sent on Sept 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.