Tuesday, July 31, 2018

From Miss Cathy (blue with gold dots)

Miss Cathy is very skilled with nibs and ink or gouache. The inline of gold is very nice. Inside was a lovely card and you can see the really nice detail on the flap - a strip of blue with gold dots. The card has a layer of fancy paper that was the inspiration for the whole package.

Real time P.S.
The epiphany that I reported yesterday didn't work. I went back to putting the month in the title. If you are new to the exchanges, you might not realize that your envelope may not show up on the blog for several months. And I save Halloween and Dec envelopes for a full year. I might start posting some other holidays during the corresponding month of the following year. I'll have to wait for the 2019 envelopes and post them in 2020. I feel like Ruth Bader Ginsberg - charting my career for the next 5 years.  Note-to-self: send Ruth a pretty envelope if I  ever have too much time on my hands (highly doubtful). Maybe we should find out when her birthday is and shower her with some fun birthday mail. March 15, 1933. Sheila Waters is turning 90 in 2019. I think she would be a more appropriate recipient - but Wiki does not have the month/date. (FB has a birthday greeting from a guild on March 12th)

Oh, this is a good idea. Choose some lucky person each month who will not exchange - but who would love to get some mail. Each person would send one extra envelope. What a great idea. Coffee-induced.

Monday, July 30, 2018

From Molly - again

Another envelope from Molly. Today (writing this on May 9) I have had an epiphany about the attempt to bring order to the blog. I'll be keeping it simple (simpler). Envelopes will say either TO or FROM - when doesn't matter. We're livin' in the moment.

Comments will be about what I like. On the back, Molly says she was inspired by ledger art. You may Google it to learn more. I am very drawn to it and had the pleasure of seeing a bunch when a student brought some in for show and tell. I do not think he had any idea how valuable it is. I saw some on Antiques Roadshow and it is highly sought after, as they say.

In a few weeks I will be on a research trip to the Newberry Library. I believe I will be able to view some there. And here is the flip side of Molly's envelope.

I love the inspiration as well as the colors, designs, stamp choice...and pretty penmanship. Although I had no idea what Traditional Miami Ribbon work means? Thank you Google.

Thank you Molly for the art education. Muchly appreciated.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Apr PTEX - From Molly

Molly's cursive is so fun and whimsical. It looks like a combination of watercolor and acrylics - but that is just a guess.
Very happy envelope. The part that looks like muddy brown is actually very pretty copper.

I'll refrain from making any Iowa-Nebraska comments. Sometimes neighboring states rive. That's not a word. I'm making up a verb to go with rivalry. I suppose the word should be compete? I assume it is OK to make up words.

Here is the flip side - nice brush script. Probably done with a brush tip marker but ya never know.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Apr PTEX - From Janna

This one I remember - it's from Janna. April was a very painterly month. Janna must have friendly postal workers who enjoy putting the cancel in just the right place and then they know how to send it along so that it gets a bar code but it does not get the wavy line or tire tread cancel.

There is a bonus post right below this one.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Apr PTEX - from Carroll

I'm 99% sure that Carroll is the only one who would have sent mail from Vermont.

I need to experiment with that idea she had for the JW -  lots of possibilities. Adding white to a colored envelope is something to remember to do. As I have said a gazillion times - contrast can be your best friend.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Apr PTEX - from Faye

OK - this name is on the tip of my tongue. I know who goes to Arizona fro the winter. I could dig out a list. Oh - there's one on the top of a pile.

Faye escapes the Iowa winters.
If the 2018-19 winter is a ruthless as 2017-18 was, I might have to pop in on Faye. I know her address :-)

I've mentioned visiting my pen pals previously. I'm thinking maybe a video camera and a documentary. Earlier I said I would warn people before I showed up - but maybe I won't.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Apr PTEX - from Suzanne or Tina

Suzanne and Tina send exchange envelopes from England. I think this is from Suzanne, but I could be wrong. I'll confirm or correct when I find it. Adorable little ladybug.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Apr PTEX - from Nanski

The note enclosed in this one, from Nanski, tells of being snowed in - 15-inches -- so she had time to sort through art supplies. She spritzed water on an ink pad that had the 8 petal shapes and then did direct-to-paper impressions. She added little lines to look like stitching. Then she found complementary colors in a stamp.

Monday, July 23, 2018

From Lauren - Mar PTEX

There are 6 or 7 envelopes coming up where I photographed them, loaded them on the computer - and now they are hiding - so on a couple, I am not sure who sent them.
When they turn up I will update the postings.

There was a ton of careful cutting and pasting on this one. This is Lauren's. The Lauren of exploding Pyrex fame.

I'm confused.
How did I get the Mar and Apr exchange envelopes out of order.

Note-to-self. Stop talking about which month envelopes arrived.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Poppies for Patty and Cathy - May PTEX

There were some other envelopes with poppies a while back. I really liked these, but you can hardly see the names. Once again - I adore minimalism and white space. I realize white space makes some people very uncomfortable. Hopefully Patty and Cathy are not aesthetically offended. Is there a better way to describe that which bothers us in an aesthetic way? It is almost 8 PM and I have probably done 25 posts in the past hour so I have something like jet lag. Blog-lag.

These would be a lot prettier with just one stamp.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

This Just In (Bonus Post on the Happy-or-Not)

My Chief Correspondent in Europe just sent me a photo from a restroom at the DaVinci airport in Rome. Apparently Italy is keeping up with the Des Moines post office.

We all appreciate our foreign correspondents corresponding and look forward to other correspondence from any other traveling correspondents....chief or otherwise.

Yes, the coffee was super strong and I have been surfing for 3 hours this morning and I am in big trouble with myself.

Regular daily post is right below.

Personal note to CKE: I tried to respond to your message, but it kept saying *Not Delivered*

Ships to Alison - May PTEX

No matter how many ship envelopes I post as the last one, there is always one more. This one does not bother me as much as some of the others.
And Alison has one of my favorite addresses - super short and sweet.
I'd be a huge fan of her name if she'd ditch the L in Daleske. Any ascender in a last name is a problem. And Ls are the worst. Sometimes you can get around a tall letter by using a cap version, but cap Ls are clunky. I am allowed to badmouth last names with Ls because I am stuck with one.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Navaho Rugs to Kathy - May PTEX

The lettering is going to need a ton of work. I also didn't get Kathy centered so I added Rob - but obviously didn't get the O in Rob squeezed in. This is either a debacle in the making or there will be a genius save.

Here it is after details were added. I cropped off the address. Sorry about that. I hardly ever do that and after this will probably remember to not do it again.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The last of the ships to Nanski - May PTEX

Another lame idea. Glad to be rid of the stamps. I'll put some kind of bonus inside to make up for the blah-ness of the envelope.


There is a new project going on in real time. I am doing all the August exchange envelopes ahead of time. On half of them, I can guess who will exchange - since there are 10-15 old faithfuls.

On the other 10-15, I am going to make pretty envelopes and leave a blank space for the BigHelpful Brother to fill in the names.

He is going to be in charge of collecting the addresses and sending the lists which he has done before.
I gave him the option of making mailing labels or addressing by hand and he chose addressing by hand. I suppose I could take the envelopes with me and address them on the road - in theory, that would work...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

April Extra from Maggie

Maggie sent a birthday card in April. I love the layers on the name. The inside had some nice whimsical brush lettering details. It looks like she has some nice new brush markers. Mine are so old - and it is time to decide if I treat myself to some new ones ---- knowing that if I allowed them in the house I would be whiling away the hours making those little fern doodles....  It's comforting to know that I will have no problem being parked in a nursing home - as long as I have paper and markers....

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bonus Post - Happy-or-Not

Bonus post today because the regular post right below might be re-runs. Also - I like to stick in some real time posts when the topic is wildly exciting.

As you may recall, I was steering clear of the Drake post office because there had been a couple very angry patrons who seemed a little too close to a tipping point. I had been having some wonderful times about a mile further at the Beaverdale post office which is the quintessential Happyville, USA neighborhood.

Apparently the Drake postal workers have been missing me because they installed this device at the exit door. I was running short on time and figured I'd give the Drake PO another shot and -Whoa - what's this? A little space age thingy sitting right by the exit door.

I've never seen one of these before.
I hope to find time to go to the website and find out more.

What will they think of next?
Are we going to get one of these at every store, doctor/dentist office, airline ticket counter, etc?
Will Mr. Wilson be installing one at the dining room table to give me valuable feedback on my culinary skills. LOL. I am a good cook - but I only get hungry for an actual meal about once a week. Plus, our house does not even have a dining room. My idea of the perfect meal is opening a container of leftovers and eating it while standing at the kitchen sink.  Onward.....

January Exchangers - Lost or Found or Re-run

Maggie did a very nice rendering of the John Lennon sketch that is on the stamp. She paired it with some nice pointed pen lettering.

Janna's envelope features a cool version of the character from the book. My name is lettered in the style called Bones which is on my list of styles that I have long admired - but have never gotten around to actually trying it.

Below is Susan's which should have gone on the page with gold and silver - but it looks nice with these two - so I think I'll just leave it here. Very pretty italics.

More photos that I discovered - and couldn't figure out if I had posted them or not.

Monday, July 16, 2018

April PTEX from Maggie and Jessica

Maggie sent this fun neon gel pen envelope. It looks great with the vintage 6-cent stamp. And Kate was happy to join in.

The designs in the border look like rubber stamps. They showed up very nicely on the black.

Below is the other April envelope in black... gold Sharpie form Jessica. Gold always looks great on black.

Thanks ladies.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

PTEX April from Phillip and Jeannette

Phillip wrote that the ink was paler than he intended. I like it just fine this way.

Below is the other kraft paper envelope from the April exchange -
from Jeannette.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

PTEX April from Patty

Really nice one from Patty. Again, I like the POs choice to put the cancel at the bottom. The wavy lines  just seem to be more at home in the water. Although - they might have been fine as clouds.

Super fun idea - to ombre the water and then also use both black and white lettering.

(Jaws movie theme playing softly in the background)

Friday, July 13, 2018

April PETX from Janet

Very celebratory. I love the cancel down at the bottom. All that white space is *music* to my eyes. What's the corresponding expression for eyes?

And below is her fun card - written back in April when we were enduring the endless season of snow. A distant memory.

Janet always has a nice feature on the back of the envelope.

Nice curved lettering - not always easy to get it to come out right. She probably had the sense to pencil it first. Her white gel pen over the top of the lettering is also very nice.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

April PTEX from Chuck

Chuck prepares his borders and then waits for his list to arrive - so he is one of the early birds in the exchange. The yellow looks nice with this stamp. Technically, there is no yellow in the stamp - but there are so many colors - that I'm thinking any color would work. I had not thought of that as an advantage to this stamp

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

April PTEX from SuzanneH

We have two Suzanne exchangers - this one is from the Texas gang. The 5 or 6 new exchangers I have mentioned are from a calligraphy guild.

When this one arrived, my husband brought in the mail and said, "This looks like your handwriting."
I tried to explain that in some cases we do all try to write exactly the same. He sort of glazed over and said, "But, it looks like your handwriting, doesn't it?"

Yes, it does!" I said with a subtle note of amazement.... 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

From Lynne - Exchanger

Thirty-four years ago I hatched my 9 pounder. He's flown the nest. I'm writing this in early May and he's deciding whether to hit the end of the ski season in Iceland or go to India. Yes - they ski in India - year round snow if you have the time to get to it. No ski resorts. It's more like mountain climbing - except you ski down. What. The. Heck.
Who would do that?

Hopefully when this post pops up, I will not be grieving because the trip didn't quite go as planned. I keep this quote in plain sight at all times. It was written by a person who didn't return from a ski trip.

Society has an absurd general belief that life is about hanging on as long as possible. So people are often hanging on for the sake of hanging on and not for really living. I can go on for days about this, but the important things in life are unsayable.

I'm happy with the quote at this point. He goes on to say:

So let's just live it out and see what we find behind the curtains in front of the big game we are all playing. Andreas Fransson

Curtains. Games. He sorta lost me. But, I totally get the part about the important things being unsayable.

Nuf said, eh?

****added in real time

Photos and videos of the trip....so he must be home.

Monday, July 9, 2018

From Belinda - April Exchange

This is cool - nice lettering enclosed in clear plastic. The stamp is on the outside. This is a great idea if you have ink that needs protection. Sadly - I cannot allow myself to buy any more envelopes....

The style of lettering is very complementary to the critter on the stamp. An iguana.

Some day I need to write down my iguana story.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Anthea - April Exchanger

Anthea is a collage artist. There was a nice postcard enclosed with a reproduction of her work. If I had too much spare time it would be pretty easy to fall down the collage rabbit hole.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Bonus Post - Painter's Keys

The regular daily envelope is below.

The Swedish death cleaning of just the items piled up on my computer-screen-desktop could take several weeks. Ever since I discovered the option to just put something on the screen, I have been amassing a whole mess of folders and images. To the right is an actual piece of furniture that has a system for keeping it covered with paper. I wisely did not hang onto the link as it would just be torture to keep going to the website which was full of very cool stuff.

Also, I kept the link to this Painters Keys letter.  I mention Painters Keys from time to time. The originator of the site died a few years ago, but his daughter has been keeping it going. She alternates reruns of her dad's letters with her own writing and generally, her writing does not resonate with me as much as his does. She's pretty young - and has not been hammered into brittleness as I have. But, this one did.


I like the article - but the P.S. is even better...especially this joke.

 “Let me tell you a story,” says Jerry. “My favorite story about show business: Glenn Miller’s orchestra, they were doing some gigs somewhere. They couldn’t land where they were supposed to land, because it was winter — a snowy night. So they had to land in this field and walk to the gig. And they were dressed — in their suits. They were ready to play. They were carrying their instruments. So they were walking through the snow, and it was wet and it was slushy. And in the distance they saw this little house. And there were lights on in the inside and a billow of smoke coming out of the chimney. They went up to the house and they looked in the window and saw this family. There was a guy and his wife and she was beautiful. And there were two kids. And they were all sitting around the table. And they were smiling, they were laughing and they were eating. And there was a fire in the fireplace. And these guys were standing there in their suits, wet and shivering, holding their instruments. They were watching this incredible Norman Rockwell scene. One guy turned to the other guy and said, ‘How do people live like that?’”

The point of posting this is for those of you who struggle with your art supplies and/or dovetailing your art with the rest of your life. If you were not drawn to making art as your career, do not underestimate the value of making things just because you are drawn to the activity. Go forth and putter.

Stephanie and Suzanne - April Exchangers

Stephanie -on top- put her wax seal on the front and Suzanne put hers on the back.

Below is the front of Suzanne's envelope.

They were both new exchangers in April. Thanks ladies.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Apr PTEX from Trish

April was the month I had 5 or 6 new exchangers from Texas. Trish is one. It is also the month I added the option to include cards if you are a cardmaker.

Trish's card coordinates nicely with the envelope and I guess she drove her vintage pick-up truck down to the river to sketch those cattails.

Nice work.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

From Betty in April

Wow. This took a lot of work. Betty's been putting in some time on both her lettering and cutting.

So pretty.

But my favorite part is her neatly written little note. Tiny little penmanship wows pretty much everyone. Betty's is at the pinnacle of penmanship perfection.


Throwing down the gauntlet.
Does anyone want to submit their own penmanship and see if you can be labeled - as good as Betty - or
better than Betty. Not that we want to go down the path of competitive penmanship... but seriously - people who can write like this deserve recognition. it did not happen by accident.

On second look - I think it is a font. Duh.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

From KateR - in April

This arrived in the April exchange. I'm writing this on May 5th. My new system of blogging is to take a stack - scan - load - blog them in whatever random order they appear.

I see that today is 4th of July - so if you are feeling patriotic - imagine some really cool little red stars. One on each side of DM.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

From Nanski in April

Nanski has some vintage stamps. I like the randomness of these - both in the designs and arrangement. Very fun.

But who wrote "Loop" and what does it mean?

Postal mysteries.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Jurgen Vercaemst (Coffee/Romans/RulingWriter)

InstaGram could become as distracting as Pinterest. Luckily, my powers to resist temptation have been doing some serious body building and I can keep my IG surfing to the bare minimum. Once in a while I see someone whose work jumps off the screen.

This is by Jurgen Vercaemst.
His work looked so much like Peter Thornton that it caught my eye - and after clicking around I found his blurb about how he got into calligraphy and -yes- Peter has been quite an influence along with several others.

I decided to share his work because he has some lovely pieces honoring coffee and we all know how much I love coffee.

Here is one link - I'll try to find the other one that has three links at the top. Small scowl at the *History* section on the computer as it only has 3 options and none of them are the ones that I remember finding first.


This is a bonus post today - scroll down for the daily envelope.

From Kristine - Spontaneously sent

This was a fun envelope to receive - from someone who had never exchanged. She just sent it out of the blue. I do not remember if I responded to her - but a couple weeks later she signed up for the May exchange - so I know I sent something eventually. It is always fun to get mail from people who have discovered the blog.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Welcoming Kids to the July Exchange

Be careful about writing on the stamp.
Some postal workers will not accept a stamp if you have written on it.
Your flowers are lovely. 
Jesse from Idaho sent me this envelope and has asked to join the exchange. So, if anyone prefers to be on a *no-kids* list, let me know.

Other than that - the sign-up is the same:

Sign-up runs from July 1 through July 4th.
Please send your info to jmwilson411 -at- yahoo-dot-com.
Please put info in a stack of name/address/email with no extra line spaces.

Jane Doe (CARDS)
123 Main Street
Ames, Iowa 50312 USA

Feel free to add the word (CARDS) after your name if you like to exchange cards as well as envelopes. It is entirely optional. At least half the participants exchange empty envelopes. Inserts are optional.
Add (no-kids) if you prefer a list with no kids.

If you have a birthday in July, let me know and I will note that on the list. Observing birthdays is optional.

Beginners are welcome. While there are quite a few calligraphers, you are welcome to participate if you are a rubber stamper, digital artist, collage-artist, or simply make your own envelopes.

You get a list with 5 people to send to - and you will receive 5 envelopes. All we ask is to mail them by the end of the month. If you are open to being on two lists, let me know - that gives me some extra names so that all the lists come out even.

Any questions - just email me.

Last day to sign up is Wednesday, July 4th. I will send out lists on the 5th or 6th.

I will reply to your email that I have received your sign-up. If you do not get a confirmation from me, resend your email - I try to keep an eye on my spam box. Sometimes first timers' emails end up there.