Thursday, February 28, 2019

Jan. Neuland to KateR

In Dec-Jan, Kate decided to give Neuland a try. I told her I would do all of my January exchange envelopes in Neuland and pass along some tips.

The number one thing I like about Neuland is layering. This one was done very quickly and if I had time, I would do some spectacular tiny details on the lettering, inspired by the details on the stamps.

My set of 48 ZIG calligraphy markers are nearing the end of their lives. Dry markers are fun - to a point.

Mean Jean warning. - to exchangers - non exchangers may ignore this:
Tomorrow, there will be some requests in red - to catch your attention - on the March Exchange Sign-up

There were complications with the Feb exchange -- and I have a couple simple requests to help avoid mistakes and complications, (i.e. mistakes made by me)

I hope I don't sound like I am yelling. I struggle with my computer keyboarding skills.
If you do not type your email - I can't always figure out how to copy and paste it - plus some people have more than one email and I can't keep track of which one they want on the list.

Thanks for your help.

I'm not yelling.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Bonus Post - Studio shots from Janna and GraceH

Janna sent photos of her studio. Lots of nice light. She has a new light pad that she is enjoying. That looks like a serious magnifying glass headset.

Below is Grace's photo of her studio. It looks like it's closed for the season. Maybe we will get a peek inside when the snow melts.

Nov from RachelD - Leafy

While this one arrived in November and is autumnal, the idea could easily be morphed into a spring theme with the right stamp.

Instead of leaves - flowers and bunnies. Or summer - watermelon and what? I'm writing this on Dec 10th and drawing a blank on summer motifs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

That Guy (in Ames?) Yes, in Ames

I hope I can find this one and insert the name.

It is not from an exchange - its from a guy who found out I did mail art - somewhere - I don't remember...maybe Ames.....

I like the rubber stamp - falling coffee cup
and the way it fits into the reconstructed/recycled window envelope. Very clever. I have to rein myself in from saving every window envelope that shows up. I love the security patterns, too.

Almost ready to celebrate that the new and improved method of blogging is going to be up and running starting on April 1. I know. A foolish day to start anything. And yet--- it's my birth month. It is usually a gorgeous month weather-wise and flower-wise. Maybe all of this is working out perfectly.

Maybe not.

Feb 10 - I just found his name
Mike Parsons and he does live in Ames.

I've seen his stuff on other blogs. But, I had to make the decision that I only do my own exchanges. If I started doing others -- I would spend all day at my desk and the list of chores is still too long.

*** an off-topic post below

Off Topic - The Big Nib - I-80 Rest Stop

Back in March of 2015 I ran a photo of the big nib and said I would post the whole story. Then I lost all the photos. Recently they reappeared.

David B. Dahlquist is a local artist who works with one of the architectural firms that designs the theme rest stops on Interstates 80 and 35. He contacted me about the one they were working on that would be built just west of Iowa City. The University of Iowa (in Iowa City) is world renown for their writer's workshop (think Kurt Vonnegut and a host of other famous writers). David was curious about dovetailing some of the tools of writing with authoring and offered to pay me for my time just to chat. In addition to talking about pre-typewriter era tools, I wrote the words --  Iowa - the beautiful land --  many times using many different tools and gave him a stack of random writing in many styles. Some time later, I heard about the BIG NIB at an I-80 rest stop. It was fun to stop and see it and even better to see my name on the plaque on the wall thanking the people who contributed to the project.

I have no idea if that is my handwriting on the IOWA. For all I know, he went out on the internet and found a font. It doesn't really look like my penmanship at all. But, it might be.

Same with the the words "the beautiful land" on the nib. It's not what I would have chosen. If he took something I wrote that was about 1/2-inch by 3-inches and enlarged it - it might have ended up looking like that. It's pretty hard to get the power of veto on these kinds of projects. Since the whole point of the rest stop is to honor the Writer's Workshop, it is probably fitting that they did not feature fine penmanship. Maybe someday we will get our own penmanship rest stop.


Below are more shots from around the rest stop and inside the building.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Bonus Post - Alyce's Studio


Alyce sent 3 photos and I had to decide what order to post them. This is her new space in her new house and clearly she has not moved in.

I read her message before I looked at her photos and she explained that because she feels she is more of a craftsman than an artist she does not refer to her space as a studio - rather she calls it her playroom and even has a sign that someone made for her. I'm pretty sure that craftsmen still call their workspaces studios - but I can also see how studio does sound a little more artsy. Workshop is probably more crafty - but workshop doesn't sound right for paper/pen/marker work.

I never quibble with people over which label they prefer. Artist, player, maker, craftsman, putterer, whatever. The important part is to boldly take up as much room as you like and spend time doing things that you enjoy.

Here is Alyce's current space in all its glory. Yowza.

Really well organized. Thanks for sending -- hoping more readers send photos.

Daily post is right below. Right after her door sign.

Oct 2018 PTEX from Heidi-Alex-Holly-Fatima

While this is very *fall* it would be easy to morph it into a springy design with springy flowers and springy colors. Below are the rest of the October exchange envelopes that arrived. The ones that are more specifically *Halloween* themed will appear in late September.

There is a new system of posting. Odd days will feature incoming mail. Even days will feature outgoing mail.

That gives me 15 days to post all the incoming exchange mail and 15 for the outgoing. When I get to the end of the month, the last posts will have a few extras.

By putting everyone's name in every post - if people want to look at all their mail - they can do a search. Or - if they wanted to look at all the mail that went to someone else - they could search that name.

Heidi's pretty fall envelope had an equally pretty fall card. The leaf looks like a real leaf that was pressed. Whatever she used to adhere it to the card has made it impossible to discern if it is real or not - without destroying the leaf.

From Alex

From Holly
From Fatima

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bonus Post - Mr Wilson's Birthday Mail

I think these are the last two.

Alyce sent the top one and Carole sent the bottom one.

Technically - Carole's was a valentine to the BigHelpfulBrother - who is not Mr. Wilson. I can see how it is confusing to know who all these people are.

Another penpal told me recently that she had just figured out who Ellen Wilson is. In the older posts - there at 70 envelopes to her - my daughter.

I pondered making a family tree - but it would just get lost in the stream of posts. I will be making a family tree to go with my other blog -- stories. There are some stories that I need to leave for my offspring - so they can console themselves when I go to that big scriptorium in the sky.

Here is Carole's to both Mr Wilson and the BigHelpfulBrother. BHB liked the enclosed fridge magnet (which I forgot to photograph). He uses them on his file cabinet. The bird on the card is a very good likeness of Mr Wilson who does, indeed, wear bowties and has some hats that look like that.

Daily post is below.

Dec to Kate, Janet, Jessica - Neuland, gouache, dolls

Kate mentioned that she was going to try Neuland - one of my all time favorite fonts. I did not have any black stamps - which might have been better.

A couple more that went out in Dec were old ones. I spent a lot of time painting in with gouache - to Janet - the letter is printed onto paper that is folded into an envelope.

I think I ran another envelope with that little tea set on it. This was the first time I was able to part with any of the doll stamps. I loved those stamps. I hope they went to someone who likes dolls.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Bonus Post Smash-girl's Studio

Sue Mashman, AKA Smash-girl, sent photos of her work space. Neatly organized and the view out the window is very nice.

Don't miss the gian nib that is hanging on the wall between the two windows. The high ceiling is nice, too. I'm guessing she has a mini step ladder somewhere to reach the top shelves.

Thanks for sending.

I have another set of photos to share - still hoping that
 *everyone* sends a photo of their workspace.

Today's regular post is right below.

Oct 2018 PTEX from CathyO and Marie (4,000th post)

The low contrast on Cathy's makes it hard to see how really pretty the lettering is. It looks like walnut ink and the stamp is gorgeous. The white highlights add just the right amount of sparkle.

Below, Marie said she was inspired by tamarac trees. Tamaracs are conifers that drop their needles the way deciduous trees drop their leaves. It's fun to note that even in the world of trees, there are a few rebels - that just have to do things entirely opposite. Why is that?

Feb 17th was the 9th anniversary of the blog. I forgot to mention that. I also noticed that we were getting really close to 4,000 posts. The blog does not show an all-time tally, just yearly tallies. I can see the all-time tally when I am scheduling new posts to pop up.

Yesterday, according to my calculations, we hit 4,000 posts. I divided 4,000 posts by 9 years and it was a twilight zone moment.


Cool, eh?

Although someone should check my math as well as my calculator battery. I am only 50-50 on my math skills.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Ruth's Card for Mr Wilson

This is the card that was inside Ruth's envelope that I already posted. It is an accordion fold with more of that very nice lettering from her Carl Rohrs online class.

Ruth and I have both done workshops with Carl in person. This is what she said about the online class.

"Carl's hope is to inspire his students to use his ideas and come up with their own style. The online classes are a perfect fit for me as I can practice a lesson more before moving to the next step."

For anyone questioning the expense of the online classes, Ruth says:  "The instructors  spend hours replying to all posts. In a way, better than a workshop because we all get to read all of his comments."

She is referring to the work and comments that students post online. In a workshop - you do not hear all of the comments that the instructor makes as he goes around to each student. I had not thought about that as an advantage to an online course. 

But - if you have never taken any in-person classes, an online class might not be as much personal interaction as you need. Beginners benefit from having someone watch exactly how they are holding the pen, etc. 

I had not thought about the advantage to being able to do a ton of practice between each lesson. Sometimes, a workshop can move a little faster than one would like. As someone who has taught -- I know how hard it is to keep everyone going at the same pace.

To learn more about the online courses with Carl Rohrs and Yves Leterme, Google - Acorn Arts or - here is a link - will take you to more info on Harvest Crittenden - the dedicated scribe who is bringing these classes and a whole lot more to the scribal community.

Here is Ruth's card - open - and the envelope - one more time - cuz it's so pretty.

Dec to Janna - 3-boy-stamps

Shimmer series - in the middle - where things weren't going very well. But I think those stamps might be perfect. I think Janna has an older boy and then twin-boys.

The colors are fine. And I certainly did not have the stamps in front of me when I started.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bonus Post - Mr Wilson's Birthday - Kate and Lynne

Kate sent a birthday envelope to George with those magic stamps that I should have purchased. She just started working on Neuland and she's doing a great job. The S can be tricky and one of the best ways to handle it is to let it burst out of the guidelines.

Nice Gs. The width of the W is good.

I'll need to get uber-picky to find something to *fix.* On the O in George - the right stroke is droopy.

There are a couple different ways to make Os - actually several.
I'll work on an O tutorial....

It's added below.

Lynne's envelope is fun -- outlined and decorated -- excellent stamp choice. I like these two together. George was so happy with all his mail.

Today's regular post is below.

Watch your white space as much as your strokes.
Note how Kate has more angle on the G and E - so the more angular O might look nice.

From Joy in July + CarrollD's Desk

I examined this one carefully and deduced that she had printed off a template for an envelope so the black lines are not hand done but the color is and then she layered some sheer white over the area where the address is written. It coordinates nicely with the stamp - both color and style. The added color looks a bit like watercolor but it also looks like colored pencil or crayon, so it might be something like watercolor pencils. Nice effects.

So far - just one more photo of a desk. This is CarrollD's - and I suspect this is just a portion of her studio space. There is no chair. She probably just pulled it out of the way. Everything is neatly organized. I hope we get a few more people sending in photos of their work spaces.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Dec Dragon Stamp to Heidi (shimmer/sharpie)

This font has been calling to me. It has not blossomed into a fabulous idea. I'm not thrilled with the mix of the floral border and the dragon stamp. Obviously this is from the shimmer/Sharpie series. It's in the middle - not as bad as the early ones - but not quite to the I-Luv-It stage.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jan PTEX from Maggie (Bonus post)

I just finished posting all the mail I received in January. They will appear in April. I needed to group nearly 30 envelopes into 15 days. Being compulsive, it bothered me that the last two did not have anything in common, so Maggie gets bumped forward.

I love this little drawing and the script and the way Kate is gazing at the moon. The only thing that would have made it better was for the PO to skip the cancel. I had so many that arrived cancel-free in January.

The regular post below is a hodge podge of images I discovered and I can't figure out if they are repeats or not. So by posting this, I know there is at least one new envelope today.

Here is a picture of Maggie's desk. I think everyone should send me a picture of their work space. She says there is a big mess to the left. I think people should include pictures of the messes, too.

From Faye and Jessica - July + possible re-runs

Two examples of repeating an element. Faye's on top fills the space while Jessica's below does not. A good illustration of how either way works.

And speaking of repeating -- I can't figure out if these have already been posted.

Below are a few more that are in a folder which has this title - Probably on the blog but not sure.

I do not have time to figure out whether any envelopes have slipped through the cracks. By posting here - or re-posting - we are assured that they are in the Google system - and while there is very little we can count on any more - I think we can count on Google. Maybe not. But, Mr. Google did choose Des Moines for a big fat storage facility. So, we know he has done his research - and he chose Des Moines as a least-likely-to-fall-into-the-ocean-after an earthquake-or-burn-up-or-be-hit-by-a-hurricane. Clearly - Mr. Google forgot to Google *towns that are reduced to kindling by tornadoes.*

On top of that - Google+ is going away in April - so people need to rescue what they might have stored there. What if they suddenly dropped Blogger? I'd lose all the images of the mail. Maybe I should figure out a way to back them up....decisions...decisions.

This is from Molly, a one time exchanger.
I forgot to post the flip side when I posted the front.
All the rest are by me.