Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Off topic - Scary photos - Bonus post

Just for fun, I am posting scary photos today.


My mom is the girl in the middle. It's a 4th of July photo taken in Moulton Montana in 1933.

I do not recall any story about why the kids look so scared.

I was thinking this was the weirdest photo of kids in my house, until I discovered this photo of my brother and me. It's my 4th birthday.

Seriously, if I had time, I would make some actual birthday cards out of this one. Hallmark uses vintage photos on some of their cards. Maybe I should submit it. Although I don't know if they are still doing that.

And note to the BigHelpfulBrother -- you got a lot of milage out of that shirt. Below is a picture taken two years before my 4th birthday and you are wearing the same shirt. I look adorable - not scary at all. Everyone is adorable at 2.

Scary haircuts.

Regular post below - with envelopes.

August Exchange from KateR and Shandra

Another fun bit of participation by the USPS on this one from Kate. Darling little bee waiting in line behind the bee on the stamp. The USPS was kind enough to run it through the cancelling machine up-side-down.

Below is the August exchange envelope from Shandra who has some nice vintage stamps. They look nice on the kraft paper envelopes. There is a double cancel, but the one on the bottom does not have the wavy lines. And there is no bar code. Very interesting how many different ways the mail gets cancelled. Interesting to people like me.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Exchangers Debbie, Lynne, and Bug

Debbie has signed up for a couple exchanges. I noted on the previous envelope from Debbie, that she signs and dates them. Part of me wishes I would have done that with mine. And I really wish I would have numbered the envelopes so I had an idea of how many I've done. But, I remind myself that it is better to just be me - and *me* is not gifted in tabulating over periods of time.

Note to self: Did you ever go back to that fascinating article on the procrastination conference?

Next is a tennis racquet from Lynne. I keep looking at the strings on the tennis racquet and can't figure out how they were drawn. I know it has been a while Lynne, but do you recall how you did them? The way the cancel works with the stamp and the racquet is nice. You must have taken them to the PO and had the postal worker put it where you wanted it.

And finally, we have another round sporty stamp -from new exchanger Bug- with a fun mandala inspired design. It's a nice touch to stack the mandalas. It is a good idea for someone who is intrigued with mandalas, but not overly disciplined - and more experimental.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

August Exchangers Tina and Nanski

Tina needs to tell us how she did her envelope. It looks like she covered the surface with an array of colors that are shiny. And then covered those colors with some matte black. Then used something to remove the black.

As kids, most of us created something similar with colored crayons - both layers. The scratching off made a huge mess. This does not look like crayon on either layer.

I was so happy to see Nanski's WonderWoman envelope. Little did she know that back in the day when I had long brown hair and wore shorts and tanned (in my mid-20s) - there were some guy-friends who wanted me to dress up as WonderWoman for Halloween. I was so tempted because I really thought I could pull it off. The only thing that deterred me was the outfit. I could not handle the *shorts* which look like underpants to me. Now - 40 years later - I sorta wish I had a picture of me as WonderWoman. Instead - I have a picture of me as Princess Leia. My hair made perfect ear-muff-buns and the full length bathrobe dress was something I could handle.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rajiv Surendra - Off topic (somewhat) + note to Alyce

It is always fun to run across someone new (new to me - he might have been around for a while) in the world of lettering. There is a tie in with mail in his bio. Here is the beginning of the bio:

ABOUT  12 years ago I came across a pile of old letters, written in the mid 1800’s.  I was fascinated with the beauty of the penmanship and began to copy the style of writing using my pencil, at school.  I switched to ballpoint pen a few years later, but it was only when I discovered the original pens used for this form of writing, wooden pen-holders with tiny metal nibs, that my writing began to flourish.
I’ve developed my own, unique style of calligraphy based on penmanship styles from the past few centuries.

There are tons of cool examples on his site.
So far, I have not found an address for him. It might be fun to drop a note in the mail. He has not posted on his blog in a year. I hope that means he is too busy with high paying jobs - and not that he has no work. That would be sad. Or maybe he was just going through a phase.


SHOUT OUT to Alyce:
I was just scheduling my annual Xmas story to appear on Xmas eve. Because I have some new readers, I thought I would add a link to the story I ran last year. While I was retrieving the address to make the link, I happened to see your comment:

Time to address the last dozen Christmas cards. I'm publicly stating that I am going to start making my cards for next Christmas in January. It hasn't worked just telling myself.

So - how's it going, Alyce? Will this be the year that you stay on top of the holiday mailings?
I know my plan is to do my December exchange envelopes in November. Let me know if you need some additional nudging as we barrel towards the holidays. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Eclipse Envelopes from SusanWestCoast and Troy

The top envelope is from another Susan - not the Smash-girl on the east coast - it's a Susan from the west coast. In August and September, I started getting quite a few new exchangers, It made me wonder if I will ever get to the point where there are too many for me to include myself on all the exchange lists.

And below is Troy's eclipse envelope. I have no idea what the layer of green is on the name. It might have been something dropped into the black ink when it was wet.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Miss Cathy's Eclipse

Miss Cathy did this really nice copperplate with a Pilot Fude Makasa.

It is a marker with a brush tip so you get thicks and thins like a pointed nib. She went over the top with some sparkle that might be Wink of Stella.

Pens and markers have such unusual names...

And that is washi tape across the bottom.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Washed Away Address to Limner (Bonus Post)

Yesterday, Limner posted this image of an envelope that I sent -recently. I did about 30 envelopes using McCaffrey's indigo ink.  Most of them were to exchangers - but a few were not. I had no idea that McCaffrey's washed off that easily.

You can see the full blog post here:
Limner's Blog Post
She has a black and white image of the envelope before it went through the car wash.

Where did that image come from?
Is the PO now recording an image of each piece of mail we drop in the mail box?

I had some kind of weird premonition when I made the envelope and put The Limner's address as the *return* address instead of my own return address. I don't know what prompted me to do that. Sometimes I do it if I think the actual address is just too hard to read. To be honest, I'm a little weirded out. Did someone see what I had done and think that it was fishy - so they deleted one of the addresses?

And there is the matter of the other 30 envelopes that went out with *wash-off* ink. Five went out of the country. 1 exchanger did not get a *wash-off* ink envelope because I had a spare with her name on it. But the rest of the exchangers - I have my own address as the return, so I assume if any of them went through the car wash - they will come back to me. Except for the ones that I used the *wash-off* ink on. Bottom line - if you did not get your exchange envelope from me - let me know and I can send a replacement.

On a happier note ... if you read the blog on a web version -not a phone version- you can see some images of other blogs that I follow. Yesterday - it was really fun to see that both Eric and The Limner had posted mail from me at the same time. It would have been cool if FinnBadger had also posted mail from me. But, 2 out of 3 is pretty good. Sadly, Eric's post shows more dreadful cruelty-to-stamps. So sad. In the future, I will protect the pretty stamps by putting them inside another envelope.

Today's regular post is right below.

Eclipse from Finnbadger

This was fun to receive. It came in an outer envelope. Phillip took it to Spring City to have the special postmark. I think he might have written about it on his blog.

I love how the address reverses out. I wonder if I could figure out a way to do that by hand. I'll label this FOLLOW-UP - and hope that I come back and give it a try. Inside was a really pretty card that did not photograph very well.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Eclipse Week - Rachael and Carol

The first two August exchange envelopes that used the eclipse stamps are from Rachael and Carol. Ooops - I see that Rachael did not use an eclipse stamp....but, the Building a Nation stamp is perfect.

I am writing this in September on the day that I finished 30 envelopes - all done in a style very similar to the style Rachael used. I might have to contact her and ask about that style. I've used it a lot over the years. This year, I started teaching again after a 3 1/2 year sabbatical. I can tell that I am rusty - but I have an official replacement teacher who is going to take over ASAP. I have a few styles that she has not learned - and as soon as she learns them, I will be the substitute teacher - if she ever needs one.

Carol's moon is really nice in person. The paper shimmers and some of the fluids she layered seem to have some shimmer as well.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Redundancy to Eric

On the day before I was to do this envelope there was a post from Eric -on his blog- mentioning the wonderful bright colors on an envelope from one of our fellow exchangers, Dianne. So I figured I'd do something colorful with the FC Pitt markers. I had just done one for Finn that used all the colors - in block printing. (The Aug 15 , 2017 post)

I switched to script and it lost all the impact plus, I do too many envelopes to Eric that look just like this. I really need to go to the PO and get some of the international stamps. I get so stumped with international mail and for no good reason. Originally, this had only 4 stamps....and then I added the lady reading and wrapped her around the edge and then I decided it needed more edge wrapping and I was on a roll. Once again, I think this envelope needs more...but should just let it go....rather than risk ruining it after the stamps are on.

I have a huge stash of telephone wire. I have found some local places to donate it - but I thought that if any of my readers want some, they could pay the postage and I would be happy to send it to them. If you do not know what phone wire is - look on Etsy. There are a lot of fun projects from jewelry to baskets. If you want some, I can see how much fits in a flat rate USPS box. Email me if you want some. jmwilson411 -at- gmail -dot- com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Outer Space from Kathy

You really need to see this one in person to appreciate the effect of all the splatters and added details. At first, this was in the stack with the eclipse stamped mail - and then i realized it was the jupiter stamp....
....eclipse week is coming up.

Or is that pluto?
Did all the planets come on one sheet - that I missed?

It's pluto.

Are planets supposed to be capitalized?
Does my lack of spelling and grammar knowledge drive any of you crazy?
But not very.
All my brain cells are being used to try to remember to look at where the text message is going before I click send. I have sent some pretty wacky messages to people who were very confused. Earlier today I sent one to a person who just one hour earlier had made a pocket FaceTime call to me. She was out shopping and she thought there was someone in the vicinity who sounded a lot like Jean Wilson. Eventually, she realized that it was actually Jean Wilson, yelling *yoo-hoo* in her pocket.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aug Exch - Food for Kathy

This one needs to have the food colored in. One of the Mexican, Central American, South American, and Caribbean food stamps would look nice. It will be interesting to find out if I actually managed to buy them before they sell out.

Under the pen is a street address with another spelling error.
This one might have to go inside another envelope with fewer errors....

Friday, October 20, 2017

Aug Exchange - Jannie's Square Black Sparkle with Sprigs

This orphan envelope, square, black and sparkle needed extra postage. I saw a very time consuming idea on The Postman's Knock and knew it would be fun to do a very quick and easy variation. Lindsey's circle border had only two rows, I added a third. Her sprigs were outlined and filled in, I just left mine outlined. I added dots. I used a soapstone pencil to rough in the name. Then, when I decided to use a big fat white PITT marker, I went rogue on myself and printed the name - and it was pretty wonky. Outlining fixed it.

I ended up liking this a lot and wishing I had more of the envelopes....

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Aug Exch - Shandra's Soccer Ball

The circle border was an unfinished doodle on a piece of Arches text wove done with markers. Since I was folding the paper into an envelope, and gluing it I knew I did not have to make a functional envelope. There was not enough paper to fold in the right side, so I inserted a card and added some more blue and yellow.

The original border is a little too fussy to be a good companion with the soccer ball - but we're on a mission to clear out the stacks. I might have to go to plan B - which is trash bags.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Aug Exchange - Troy's Sports Stamps

This one would have been cuter if I had used the golfer with the round golf ball stamp - but - I don't like to use up random stamps for no reason. After it was done - I realized that I could have used a square envelope and then the forever + 32-cents would have been correct for the square.


Too late now. But maybe I'll find some other stamps that pair well with the spherical stamps - and would look nice on a square envelope.....

My exchange envelopes will go in the mail today. This is pretty late for me. I had so many good ideas for Halloween and then ended up doing something entirely indigo with hodgepodge stamps. They will be blogged in late Dec. The good news is my 2017 blog posts are complete and I can start on 2018. The bad news is that we might not get pretty leaves this year. It's been cloudy. Leaves need sunshine to turn colors. Guess we just need to embrace drab. That will be a challenge......

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BHB's Best Find Ever - Bonus Post

Today's regular post is right below.
This envelope is a rerun from the uber-talented Carol DuBosch.

My BHB (BigHelpfulBrother) sent a link to a video that explains how the cost of mailing items between countries is calculated and how the money is transferred. While it might be a tiny bit nerdy of interest to only a few mail-enthusiasts, I think I have more than a couple fellow mail-nerds mail-aficionados who read the blog and will be giddy at learning about this part of the mail system. It soothes my frazzled being to know that there are a few orderly and high functioning entities left in the world.


P.S. Apologies if the word nerd is now on the list of words that have become offensive. I guess I could go back and insert aficionado. I guess I did. Typing and using the cross-out function is like virtually writing on paper. It seems more personal.

Big thank you to the BHB. I see a lemon meringue pie in your future - and yes it will be the Goldberg Variation recipe.

Pickle Pie for Alex + Maggie2Natalie

I need to figure out if I already posted this one....

and below is another one that I have no idea if I already posted.

Maggie kindly sent a beautiful envelope to Natalie.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aug Exch - Jean's Re-run +

I think I ran this top one earlier - but it would not have had stamps. I know these stamps came out of my box of favorites. I thought it was fun how the film stamp shows the GWTW script....

Below is one that is unfinished. It needs black. I might not have time to rerun it after I figure out what to do with it....

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Aug Exchange - Two More Mathy Addresses

Or should I call them Algebraic?

I don't think I talked about how these came about. For years I have provided very fancy place cards for a client who does some seriously detailed entertaining. Mostly family and social - but once a year they have a dinner for the top level scientists who work in the family business.

I believe the scientists come from Asia and South America as well as the US for dinner in Des Moines. This year, they asked me if I had any ideas for place cards that would look *scientific.* This was what I came up with. None of those names are the scientists. The client liked the style so much, they had me do more place cards for upcoming family dinners.

Photo of the place cards is below. I also have a PDF of the menu. I need to figure out how to post it. Guess I have to print it out and scan it. Or save it as something else. I need techno help.
I made a copy and saved it as a JPEG and it seems to have worked although the resolution doesn't look very good.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Aug Exch - Chuck's Carousel Horses

Again, I found this one with the name penciled in. Chuck frequently does borders on his envelopes which made me think of sending a border to him. I used gold gel pen.

The border might look better with some color, but the stamps are stuck on, so I hesitate to start adding things that I might regret....

....and the lettering is a little wimpy. I might go over it...wish me luck...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Aug Exch - Maggie's Portrait Succulent

This was in the stack of penciled ideas. Since it needed more than a 1-oz amount of postage, I thought the succulent stamp would be nice.

It would be nicer if this was all done in gouache rather than marker - but it's happy - and I had fun.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Aug Exch to Faye - mini people

This is another image off the internet. I have been enjoying the series. One new photo every day showing itty-bitty people in interesting scenes. I added it to my blog roll.

Somewhere in my stash of stuff I have some little people. Next time I see them, I hope to try my own little scene.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Aug Exch - Eric's Frog Envelope

I believe Eric collects frog art. This is an idea I used a while back when I took a screen shot of purple hats. On this one I left the top panel open and used a stamp from my stack of Italian stamps.

I like the variety of images where some are isolated on a white background and others are in a rectangle.

I ponder the idea of doing all of the exchange envelopes using this idea for each of the participants. When they signed up, they would need to give me a list of things that they would like to see on their envelope. If I made 20-25 envelopes like this, I suspect I would come up with some really fun ideas.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Aug Exch - Eric's Wendy's Bag

Yup - Jean's still driving through fast food places once in a while.

Does everyone know that they put a secret *MOM* on her collar? Not sure why.

I put my hair in pigtails the other day. Super creepy.

This is for Eric's paper-bag-envelope collection.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Aug Exch - Susan and Debbie

The carousel horses were in the purge pile. I knew they would be lots of fun to work with. So many options when you have strong black and details on a stamp.

I was very happy with how Susan's turned out.

I left Debbie's a bit unfinished to show how blah they are before the details are added.

Note to self - white details are really fun because you can overshoot the edges and it does not show on white paper.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Silly Saturday

I might make a post of all the silly photos that I run across during my sift and purge project. Not only am I sifting and purging the items in my house, I am sifting and purging the items on the computers....

Friday, October 6, 2017

Aug Exchange - Equation Lettering to Finn + KathyS

Finnbadger is one of the people whose address I post, as he has his own blog and his address is all over the internet.

Kathy's below will have her street address filled in and have the same stamps.

It's fun to look at the different symbols. After I did several of these, I realized that I never used the minus sign. Hardly ever used the minus sign. There is one on Bug's envelope
two days ago.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Christy Robb - Best in Show

I remember seeing that Christy's envelope was Best in Show in the Graceful Envelope contest this year. I mentioned it in a blog and had a link to the envelope.

Christy's 2017 Graceful Best in Show

The image that the contest organizers posted which had the envelope on a white background so you couldn't see the shape of the arch pushing off the edge. The theme was *pushing the envelope* so Christy wanted to literally push the arch off the edge of the envelope.

Congratulations Christy. Thanks for sending a better photo of the envelope

Christy also tells me that the contest may be losing their sponsorship. I guess I can volunteer to run the contest.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New Bottle of McCaffrey Ink - Bug's border

Back in August, I found out that Neil McCaffrey had found a little shop here in Des Moines that was interested in carrying his ink. I usually order his ink from John Neal - but needed a bottle of navy right away. This was just some random swirly-doodle to warm up. Unfortunately the envelope was not the best quality paper. But, it was fun - which is pretty much all I care about.

August was the first time exchanging for Bug and I had done a few envelopes in a goofy science/math/formula style. Bug's envelope was looking a little odd - so I thought I should stick a bonus envelope inside Bug's first envelope from me.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ben Day Dots for Alex

A rough idea . The name is weak and the Ben Day dots should be more precise. I have a template for the dots. I know I was inspired by something on Pinterest for the overall idea, but did not keep track of it - so not sure if the inspiration piece will be added.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Halloween to Jeri

This envelope might have been posted without any stamps - a while back. During the sift-purge I found these stamps to be perfect. It's hard to part with my last 5 monster stamps, but I know they are going to a good home.

There is some white colored pencil that needs to be covered up with the street address.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Exchange - Sign Up

This is a recycled envelope. The bold black lines are covering an address with an error. Under the gray box is her actual address.

The PicklePie font that Elizabeth sent a while back popped into my head although this is not exactly like her PicklePie. If you go to the search box - and type in pickle - all the other pickle-pie-inspired envelopes will pop up.

It is time to sign up for the October Exchange. Beginners are welcome. You will get a list of 4-5-or-6 people to send envelopes to. One of them may be out of the US and international mail requires $1.15 postage.

No theme, any medium, digital is welcome. Enclosures are optional. This is an envelope exchange.
Please put your return address on the back and write OPEN if there is an enclosure or EMPTY if there is none. It is also nice to write OCT.2017.PTEX on the back of the envelope for those who may participate in more than one exchange. PTEX stands for Pushing the Envelopes Exchange.

To sign up -even if you have signed up many times- I need the following information typed, in upper and lower case. Please do not forget to type your email address, too. Last month more than one person just sent me an email that said *Sign me up.* Please type out the information as it takes too long for me to open old files and find the info. I need:

Your email

Non-US exchangers - please follow the format that your postal system prefers.

Email the above information to me at;
jmwilson411 (at) yahoo (dot) com

If you are having a birthday in October, let me know. Exchangers have the option to send a birthday themed envelope.
If you are agreeable to be on two lists, let me know. It is nice to have a few people willing to do ten envelopes in order to make all the lists come out even.

Deadline to sign up is October 4. Lists will be sent on Oct 5th or 6th. Please get your envelopes in the mail by October 31st. If you are going to be late, please email the people on your list so that we know your envelope will be late.

Any questions - email me.