Wednesday, October 31, 2018

May PTEX from GraceE

GraceE is a professional calligrapher. I've posted her website (I think)
I should post her IG - for those of you who are IGers.

She has a mixture of envelopes and animals. If you are new to IG - beware - it can be a proverbial rabbit hole. I am resisting the temptation (for the moment).

And with that - I am headed to the yard to pull weeds. Wish me luck.

Inside her envelope was a lovely card. I had to crop the left and right margins to get the image in focus. Please imagine the nice elongated landscape proportion.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Translucent from GraceE in July

The translucent envelopes are so pretty. This one is full of fun stuff. Any season or holiday with a coordinating stamp would be a fun in a translucent envelope.

The coordinating ink colors are a big plus.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Papyrus from Kathy

Kathy was inspired by a piece of papyrus that we saw at the Newberry in June.

It was in a clear envelope. The flip side of the clear envelope is shown below. I like her hybrid style of Akim with extra intro strokes.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

From Ruth to Rainbow

Ruth was taking a watercolor class from Betty Locke

The person teaching the class was Phyllis Macaluso not Betty Locke.

I just had an email from Ruth ---

Ruth used some of her new techniques on this envelope for Rainbow's birthday. I've seen a wedge shaped tool that is sort of rubery and I am wondering if that's what Ruth used. It's so pretty - plus I can tell that she has invested in good watercolors. The better quality paints are usually much more intense. I'm pretty sure you don't get these kinds of colors out of a tin of Crayola watercolors. Ruth will let me know if I am correct on that.

Yes - Ruth was using WN and Daniel Smith watercolors.

Also - I'm 99% sure this is the card from Ruth. They are both at Rainbow's and I don't want to pester her to bring them back. There is no way that two different people would have done those exact Rs and Ps.

On Wednesday, Ruth saw my post about how I was curious to see her beautiful purple flowers done in other colors. She sent a couple images but mentioned that she had other images that she could not locate. Ruth and I are both challenged by technology. She also gave me the name of a person on IG who has those flowers in every color one can imagine. I must admit - it was overwhelming to see all of them at once. I might try my hand at them some day. I know the appeal is the mesmerizing feeling of repetitive strokes.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Tina's 2017 October Exchange Envelope

Nice graphic, fun lettering. Super stealworthy. I should have started the October ideas sooner. It's getting down to the wire on getting your Halloween mailings out the door.

I hope I remember to go back and add the label - Halloween to all of these -

Friday, October 26, 2018

Popscicle/Frozen Treats from Miss Cathy and Carole V

Cathy used the Popsicle logo as inspiration - very clever. She said the big round Speedball nib was challenging. I have some of those. It took a lot of will power to not pull mine out.

Carole has an adorable rubber stamp that fills the envelope all the way to the edge. Then she has a very skillfully rendered sky. I do not know how she did it and I am jealous.

After all the wretched things the PO has done to some of the recent mail, I am grateful for the way they ran this one through the machine to leave all that pretty blue sky.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

From Finnbadger - October 2017 Exchange

Super cute goodie bag from Target that Finnbadger converted in to an envelope. By putting the label on in the landscape orientation - the envelope was fine with the regular postage.

The overall design is portrait -
so ---I love the cleverosity of a portrait design being delivered for landscape rate. I must steal this idea.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Flowers from Ruth

When Mr. Wilson brought this one in from the mail box he exclaimed, "OK, this is the best one ever."

There have been a couple comments from people about whether or not it is appropriate to send flowery mail to men. I don't remember if they were comments in notes to me or comments left on the blog - but I do know it has come up.
Judging from Mr. Wilson's enthusiastic response, I'd say that guys probably like flowers as much as any other design.

This spectacular envelope was done by Ruth. She took a class and I'd say she gets A+. I love the little buds on the card that was inside.

I'm also curious what these would look like done in rusts and oranges. I'm not asking Ruth to send another one. I know she knows how to send photos - so, if you get a minute to experiment with other colors it would be fun to see.

Now - we need to address the situation with Lauren. Previously, two of her envelopes rated *Best One Ever* remarks from Mr. Wilson. I'm going to split his ratings into *floral* and *non-floral.*  There is just no way that those two can complete.

The design on the inside (left) and back flap design on the right.

On a gut-wrenching note - here is a person who would probably be very happy to get some mail art - flowery or not.

Paul Shaw
785 West End Ave - #16A
New York, NY 10025

Paul Shaw is a very well know calligrapher and type designer. He is recuperating from serious injuries from a random attack on the street. Fellow calligraphers posted his address on FaceBook and suggested sending him some happy mail. 

You may see examples of his work at his website.

Update on FB:
The last I heard from Anna is that he has head lacerations, a broken eye socket and broken bones in both hands. But he is home from the hospital.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

From Smash and Chuck

The spider sticker is fuzzy. The stripes are washi tape. The lettering must have been done with a scroll tip pen. I think the Pilot Parallel pens are available in scroll tips. As previously mentioned, I do not allow myself to be tempted by more parallel pens because they would be too much of a distraction. I do have one and the ink gives me fits.

Below is Chuck's envelope. He does all his stripes with an actual pen. Sometimes they are the oldie-but-goodie mechanical pens - Rapidiograph was one of the brand names.Very mesmerizing to make lots of little lines.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bonus Post - IG mail artist

This is so cute it rates being added this year. I'll be resisting the temptation to do a second month of Halloween envelopes.

If this style appeals to you - there are tons of examples along these lines on the IG account:

Today's regular post is right below - and does not contain any new ideas.

Exploding Head by Keith Haring - Lauren's PO Return

OK - My head is exploding because I can't find the original photo and I can't find the post I thought I wrote yesterday talking about how the PO couldn't figure out this address.

If it has already run --- then I owe all y'all another envelope.

In case I just imagined that I posted this one the first time -and once again after it was returned to me.... here it is. The street number is so big - they apparently could not see it or link it up with the street which was small but still very legible, just to the right.

Then I did find the original.
I wonder why the colors are so different.
I generally just point and shoot---

I Googled *exploding head art* and -wow- there are a lot to choose from.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

From Miss Cathy - Halloween + Rainbow

This is a terrible photograph. It has so much detail. I will try to reshoot it. But, if I don't get around to re-shooting and re-placing this image - we will just have to endure it this way. I am writing this post in February and a lot can happen between Feb and Oct. I could have tons of spare time or none.

Some of those dots are raised. So she must have used something like puff paint. I have no idea how many exciting new products are out there. I have to avoid the craft stores.

So far - no luck on re-shooting the envelope - but I can add a Rainbow envelope --- and it is the one that Cathy sent. Super rainbow-y. The lettering is outlined with gorgeous sparkles.

And that's a very nice R. Rs can be tricky.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Alien Alphabet to Alex and Ben

My son-in-law had a birthday in July and I thought the kids would enjoy the envelope. The card inside was recycled. My husband thinks it is outrageous to send a used card to someone. He spends a ridiculous amount of money on cards. I have a huge stack of cards that I love and see no reason to go out and buy more. Whenever I go look at cards, I see a ton of them that I love - and at a certain point, I just had to stop buying cards. I sometimes take pictures of cards I like and text them to people. I'm expecting to get in trouble some day. Even I can see how it is a form of stealing. Can't you just see me in the penitentiary for taking pictures at Walgreen's?
Maybe I should post all my favorite cards on a blog so that I can get rid of them, but still go back and enjoy them.

p.s. My son-in-law actually liked the idea of the recycled card. He said something about how I had amortized something-or-other. He doesn't save anything. Note-to-self: All that stuff that the daughter and I thought were keepsakes and have them here at my house --- photograph them, put them on a blog and get rid of them. Except the pink blanket - the pink blanket goes in the safety deposit box.

Bonus Post - Wedding Sign Stories

You might recall my post about the *bad* wedding sign that I posted a few weeks ago. I actually took that sign down because I was walking past it. It's a long story...which I will leave out.

For a couple weeks, I saw no signs. Then two weeks ago there was a sign. Nobody took it down. Then as I approached the corner this week, I saw that there was a new sign. Really generic. And then I noticed those people had simply taken out the previous sign and tossed it aside.

See Photo 2
and Photo 3 for the close up.

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Right across the driveway from the wedding signs is the stop sign that has been knocked over for a few weeks.

And where does Jean's mind go?
Sadly - I want to start collecting signs and then every time someone puts up a new sign, I want to repost all the previous signs so that people freak out when they think there are 5 or 6 weddings all going on at the same time. OK, it was a fleeting thought. I'm not as mean as my brain is.

How about this --- when I see a really cheezy sign, I redo it - beautifully -  and put it in place of the cheezy sign - and then the people can be pleasantly surprised as well as weirded out.

Here is another fun idea if you are into signs. Someone I know did this - but her IG account is private - so I went to the website and found an example. Her photo was way better - but you get the idea.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Bonus Post - Postal Worker - Happy Story

Below this post is the daily post.

This is the happy story I promised after the string of horror stories. It started on a day that did not look promising because I was doing an impromptu amateur-Uber run first thing in the morning - which is not that bad - but - jamming one more thing into an already busy schedule .... can be a recipe for disaster ... but I do some of my best thinking in the car ... and realize that I need to track down those winter bird stamps for a client, so I could actually stop at the main PO - and maybe get one errand done ahead of schedule.

Lucky me, only one person ahead of me in line. In the good old days, all the workers at the main PO were my best buddies and would wave the minute I walked in the door and provide all kinds of customer service. Now it's just a sea of strangers. Or in this case - a lone stranger. I walk up and ask if he has the winter bird stamps. He seems delighted as he says, "Why yes we do." He pulls out the book of stamps as though he is handling an 18K gold Audemars Piguet watch.

He presents it to me and I ask, "Are there 20-stamps in a book?"

Again - as though he is opening a $900,000 pocket watch - he opens the booklet and says, "Twelve on this side," and with a flourish, be turns it over and says with jewelry store level sales pitch, "and eight on this side."

Then he looks up at me with that salesman-smile of confidence that says -yes- he's going to make this sale. It took a lot for me to not just bust out laughing. Keep in mind, the main PO is one of the places where very angry people come in with big postal problems and I have been very scared. I've also see a counter person call for the large guy they keep in the back room who comes out and scares everyone. So this guy with buckets of care and concern for the sale of a book of stamps amazes me. I want to ask, "Where did you come from? Can you keep this up all day? Are you actually a performance artist?" It was refreshing - and certainly made me happy that I had been called out on an amateur-Uber call. I'm so tempted to go back to the main PO. But, I think I can keep myself reined in.

At first, I was not sure how to tell this story. It's so much easier to act it out - so that I can gesture appropriately. It was the way he pointed out how to find all the stamps that tickled my funny bone. But to act it out I would have needed to shoot a video. So, I had to think of something to compare it to and I know all my readers frequent the Audemars Piguet shops. Actually, I have never heard of that brand. I just Googled - most expensive Swiss watch. It popped up. Lists for $900,000. But is on sale for $861,743.31 (7% off)  Do they really think that 7% is going to make a difference to anyone who is contemplating a watch in that price range?

Here is a 2018 October Exchange envelope. It's from Lynne. Gothic lettering is so perfect for October - love the stamp - and love the simple detail of the fine line with diamonds. At first I wasn't crazy about the double cancel - but in some ways the circle cancel goes with the labels on the bottles of poison across the bottom and the horizontal lines of the black cancel harmonize with the address lines.... so I ended up liking the combination of cancels.


Something else to ponder.

I'm not going to *out* the person who wrote to me yesterday, sharing with me the excitement of finding some pumpkin stamps in their stash...but when the last line in the email was..."I know that I am a real stamp nerd" ... I thought you aren't ....and then I thought - wait a minute ...maybe the guy at the post office knows the stamp nerds and he just layers on the customer service schtick for those of us who have an obsession with stamps. Maybe there is a bulletin board in the back where they have mugshots of us - and maybe during coffee breaks they share stories about us.

OK, I'll stop.

From Exchangers Nanski & JeanR & KateR

The top envelope is form Nanski and has a melange of Halloween details.

The other two are from JeanR and KateR. While they are not Halloween themed - I need to group them because I have finished the Oct exchange envelopes except for those two that did not even get scanned....aaarrgghh.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Fan Letter to Alan Blackman & Response

I finally got around to sending my fan letter to Alan Blackman. This is the address on all the mail he sends to himself, so I am hoping he has not moved recently. I am writing in late July - so maybe by now this has been returned or maybe he responded.

This is an example where I did not let myself get all nervous about writing to one of my *idols.* I once sent a birthday card to Rudolph Koch and also a birthday card to Sheila Waters. I know they are just as happy to receive mail from hacks and that they appreciate the fact that we are all happy travelers on the alphabet trail.


Alan did respond with a lovely letter and he enclosed a few items from his files - pictured below. His current penmanship is pretty shaky. But it is still uber-charming - and it is encouraging to see that he is still doing what he loves - even though there is something going on with his fine motor skills. It's a wonderful example of - just keep doing what you love - no matter what it looks like. I found online that he is 79 - so I should find out when his birthday is - so we can shower him with we will be doing with Sheila Waters who is turning 90 in 2019. Any of my west coast pen pals know when Alan's birthday is?

The stack of mail Alan sent to me.

Close up of one of them.

The envelope and letter sent to me - with his current penmanship.

Current penmanship - and yes - we will be stealing those Es.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Jeanette's Witch & Clover's Skeleton

Jeanette sent this fun witch that wraps around the envelope. And Clover had a nice skeleton idea. The PO did a fine job with the cancel on Clover's.

These two might be on my list to steal next year.  We have all heard the expression *Christmas in July* - maybe we should do *Halloween in April* for people who can't get enough Halloween into their lives. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

BONUS POST - RachelD's showed up - for Rainbow

Last week there was a post about the envelopes that were sent from Texas and not arriving. I am happy to report that Rachel's did show up.

Note the rubber stamp - indicating that the envelope was unsealed. Wow. I have never seen that before. Also - I am not posting it, but Rachel did have her return name and address -fairly large and centered on teh back. It looked a lot like what the front of a standard envelope might look like. So it would have been a candidate for being sent right back to her.

Then there is the re-writing of the zip code. I guess I would recommend a minimum of flourishing on numbers. Or maybe none.
Note to self - make the addresses clear.

Somewhere in the archive is an envelope where all the artwork is on one side (the front) and then a very standard name, address, stamp is on the back of the envelope - written right across the seams. I suppose this would be a way to go. For me - the downside is that the stamp is an important part of the design. However, I whinge up one side and down the other about using up my vintage stamps. So maybe that is the solution to the problems.

Now, if only I would go back and read my tips before I launched into another set of envelopes.

Today's regular post is right below.

From Chuck - Tattoo Type Pen

In June, Chuck emailed me that he had decided to treat himself to a new pen. He says it's a lot like the devices that are used for tattooing, but you use them on paper. The video is pretty cool. It is July 23rd and he just emailed me that he has all the artwork done for his exchange envelope for the August exchange - and is waiting for his list. I am tempted to have him send mine early - because I am wildly excited to see the artwork. I'm also tempted to drive to Newton and ask him if I can try it out. But, I'm afraid if I tried it I would want it --- and I'm not allowed any new tools until I get my abundance of supplies whittled down and the rest of my hoard organized.

Here it is....

Also - there have been notes on a couple exchange envelopes wondering if it is OK to send flowery designs to the guys on the list. I think it is fine. Chuck does plenty of designs that are based on floral motifs. And this envelope which has a masculine feel does not bother me at all. I love the WWI poster stamps - although I probably won't get around to ordering any.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The 2018 Halloween Debacle

The top envelope came from Rachael Thomas for the October 2017 exchange. I loved it so much I started copying it just for fun during my procrastination time and when I got to the name I wrote my name instead of something else - which was silly. But, it made me very curious about the font. So, I spent hours figuring out what the other letters should look like. Scroll to the very end of this tediously long post if you are interested in knowing the source of this font and seeing my entire variation.

When the October exchange rolled around, I thought  - gee - maybe I should do my version of this envelope for everyone on the exchange. I had 28 people sign up. So, I started working on them and after three, I got curious about where the quote came from - so I googled it and discovered that LEGGEDDY only has on D - should be LEGGEDY.
Also, there is another & - which was helpful with spacing.

With each envelope I did, I would make a mistake - but each envelope took so long that I knew I would be sending them with mistakes. Finally, after 15, I burned out. I switched to stealing Jannie's skull design. And then I burned out on that one and switched to other ideas. Since I had a class on Tuesday, I thought the students would enjoy seeing these so I took the stack to class. It was a super humid day (the 15th day of a rainy spell where there was measurable rain for 15 days in a row... at least that's what I heard) and $%^&*$%^#$%^#$%^ .....the ink, which had seemed dry - softened up and they all stuck together.

$%^&#$%^$%^#$%^ - while they stuck - at least they did not smear.

We brainstormed ideas in class and I said - maybe I will try microwaving one of them to see if that helps. You heard it here first - do not microwave your mail. I only ran it for 10 seconds and nearly burned my fingers. Very bad idea. It did appear to cook the ink. So, I pulled out a hair dryer and hit the rest of them with the highest setting and that seemed to dry them. I am not sure if it baked them sufficiently.

I am going to take them to the PO today. Three or four of them had stamps - and I have alerted those people to be on the lookout for their mail. The rest of them - I put in plain white envelopes - with no stamps. So - if you get a plain white envelope - I hope your black envelope is not stuck to the inside of the white envelope. If it is - maybe hit it with a hair dryer or iron it. And then choose a stamp that you think goes.

While Lynn reported that they were selling last year's pumpkins in New Jersey - I did not find any in Des Moines. The dragon stamps look nice - if applied horizontally. I left space for a landscape orientation stamps.

All in all, it's been another 50-50, yin-yang exchange. Half the time I was in nib-heaven. The other time I was muttering. The world is full of stories about difficulties being our friend and helping us to be better people. OK, if this the worst thing going on in my life - I should be grateful.

Oh, wait. I have another story. And then in a couple days, I promise I will post the really fun story I mentioned. This started a few weeks ago. A pregnant woman who is such a control freak she is doing all the planning for her own baby shower asked if I could address in pale pink or gold. I did not talk to her directly - but my favorite shop owner asked - as she was lining up the invitations and addressing. She assured me that she talked the mother-to-be into black ink. I'll leave out the part about how it took me two trips to pick up the envelopes - and how the shop owner was insisting that she could drop them off at 5 pm - but my older wiser self said - nope - I want them at noon - I will come get them. So she says, just double park and I will run them out. OK. I double park - she runs out, opens the door and says, "You're going to kill me."

That's not what I want to hear. She has 3 gold pens - at least they are Gelly Rolls, the most reliable. She says, "The client really wants gold ink." I smile and say - "That's fine. I will try to not puke on the envelopes as I am addressing." We laugh, cuz we've been through a lot together. I go home, start doing some testing to see how to do the addressing - and all three pens stop working. Luckily, I have some spare pens and find a couple that look like they are going to work. I call the shop owner and warn her that the devil-pens agree with me that gold gel pens are ugly - and that I have other pens that look like they will get through the 30 envelopes. But, I must warn her that if my pens decide to stop - there is a chance that there might be some slight variation in the look of the envelopes. No problem she says.

Remember the part where I knew it was bad to wait until 5pm to start the job - if I had waited, I would not have had any spare gold pens and would have been driving around looking for them. And would have been cranky. Somehow - there is no good way to punish clients with a *hassle fee* when the schedule gets tight and the materials do not cooperate.

So, the addressing is going well. I start at the end of the list - so that I am warmed up by the time I get to the top of the list which is usually the list of *important* people. Top three names, expectant parents and expectant grandparents. So, I have the top three left to do - and the pen acts like it is going to stop.

Oh, NO. To have just those three different....might send a pregnant control-freak over the edge. I don't want to be responsible for an early labor - or worse. I press down really hard and will the ink to come out. And the envelopes are done. Ugly - but done. I soooooo wanted to address one the way they would have been pretty and enclos it. Happily, I will never have to meet this person in person.

The shopkeeper assured me that they are lovely and that the client will be thrilled....
it's not the first time I've deferred to clients who do not share my aesthetic sensibilities.

Here is a close up of the halloween envelope - and my version of the font.

At one point, I emailed Rachael and asked if her lettering was based on a font - and she said it was Black Cow from was really funny because I actually had that font downloaded on a computer that I don't use much any more...

Last Blue Lace to Janna and GraceE

Flush left layouts are generally pleasing. Janna's name works well. I knew that Grace's was going to be too short, so added "The Lovely." Everyone who exchanges is lovely - I just choose to designate loveliness when I need to fill space.

It was hard to decide whether to flush left or right with the stamps on Grace.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Jannie's Oct 2017 Exchange & Carole to Rainbow

Jannie's scull. Several of my exchange envelopes are my version of this envelope - fluorescent skulls on white envelopes and I did not put the names and addresses into the skulls, I wrote them where the *boo* is. I guess you will have to wait until next year to see them - unless you received one.

I realized that one way to get to the Rainbows a little sooner was to tack them onto existing posts.

CaroleV sent a fun Scooby-Doo themed envelope. I'm sure Rainbow watched Scooby-Doo when she was little.

Below is the coordinating card. While Rainbow has two cats, she assured me that she is equally fond of dogs. But a dog would not get the needed attention because of her work schedule.