Sunday, March 31, 2019

Memory Lane - Neuland to KathyS - 2010

This concludes my trip down memory lane.

More Neuland for KateR.

The cancel on this one is so perfect and the concept on the other one is something I wouldn't mind using again. Adding whichever letters are not in a person's name so that they get an entire alphabet.

So, tomorrow is the big launch of the new system. Not that I will be following it exactly - but it will be mostly:

Odd numbered days: incoming mail - artwork from my penpals
Even numbered days: outgoing mail - artwork by me.

Halloween and December holiday mail will be held over for an entire year.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sept PTEX to Trish - film strip stamps

The lettering was dry brush textured. Putting little white lines was a nice way to tie in the texture in the stamps.

There were a total of 8 envelopes using this style. I have lots more ideas so it may pop up again. It probably isn't going to generate a lot of interest, but it's been fun to spin ideas.

Most of the ideas ran back in Nov or 2018. I wish I had given all the styles of writing names so that it would have been easier to search ideas by font.


Friday, March 29, 2019

3 Re-Run 2010s to KathyS

Three more from late 2010 that show how much fun you can have with Neuland.

Top one shows how much Neuland likes to be packed together - overlapping as much as you can but still leaving enough space that it is legible.

Second one shows a bit more space - but the variation is to put a bit of curve into the strokes. Just a tiny bit. And if you look closely - often times the bit of curve is a tiny tweak near the end of the stroke. Many of the strokes are pretty straight.

When I see people who are trying to do their first loose and curvy Neuland, I notice that they tend to put way too much curve into all the strokes. Start with just a bit.

And then there is the skinny version of Neuland. It might not be Neuland at this point...

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Consolation envelopes - green Cocoiro to Phillip

Of course, this was the last George Washington stamp left - and now I want more.

Two days ago when I was sharing the disasters that happened in January, I mentioned that the really bad ones received consolation envelopes that looked like this. They did not have this much flourishing. As you have probably surmised, something went wrong and I had to go overboard on flourishing. It was the old bug-a-boo -- centering. I had too much space on the left.

If I ever run out of envelopes I am going to just address plain paper and then fold the envelope so that I can center the lettering. Now I want to count up how many envelopes I have in my stash.

That white space to the top and right of George bothers me.
The way I photographed it on the flip side of the mat board is lovely. I never noticed that there is a pale gray on the flip side. I shall be using it more often.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Re-run from 2010 from Nancy HIlls

I needed three more envelopes to fill up March so that I can launch the new format on Apr 1st. I clicked on 2010 of the blog to see what I could find that I still loved. Interestingly, there was NOTHING of my own work that I liked. I am seriously contemplating removing a bunch of it.

This was the first item that pleased my eyes and I thought KateR would also enjoy it. She is working on Neuland and this is an excellent example of how you can spin some really fun lettering off Neuland.

It is by the incomparable Nancy Hills.

Bonus Post - Another BHB B'day Card

The BigHelpfulBrother wanted me to share this absurd birthday greeting that he received from his state representative.

I will refrain from making any comments about this. BHB and I are not natives of Iowa and it's stuff like this that makes me embarrassed to live here.

I guess I should research Montana before I badmouth Iowa. They might be worse out there. I guess it is all relative.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jan PTEX - last 4 - Gold and Silver on Dark

I was down to the last 4 envelopes for the January exchange and was not happy with the direction the Abstract Expressionist envelopes were going so I figured - do metallic on dark - that's always pretty.....

....nope. Not always.

Suzanne's is fine and I will probably add some stars and/or dots before I mail it.

The others are real dogs. So bad that I put consolation envelopes inside. I made little green tiny script with Cocoiro pens. I loved them - but used the actual addresses and by the time I block out the addresses - you won't get any idea of how they looked - so they are not posted.

After I botched these three, I decided to just leave Rachael's plain.

Bonus Post BHB Birthday Mail

This is all off topic - so just skip it unless you have nothing to do today.

Friday was the BigHelpfulBrother's birthday. One person wondered what I might find for him for a birthday present. Since both of us are in the midst of minimizing our belongings, I knew that he would only want something that would offer a chuckle and then be easy to toss.

I had the perfect greeting that I had saved off Pinterest. I dug in my paper bag of recycled paper under the desk and found this envelope. Then I grabbed the first piece of non-white paper that I could find.

Since the proportion of my card was longer than the inspiration card, I went with the world's best space filler - flourishing. The top one was fine. The second one was wretched and I came close to pitching it - but since I was doing something that I figured I would never post on the blog and it was going to someone who is unable to discern good flourishing from bad - it made no sense to obsess over the bad flourish.

He reported that he did get a chuckle out of it. The next day, I asked the BHB if I could have the card back to post on the blog. Then I realized that a very good calligrapher friend of mine shares a birthday with the BHB so I will be inserting this in an outer envelope and sending it along as a belated greeting.

The original card that inspired this one is pictured below - I neglected to save the link to it aso I am unable to give credit to the originator. If that person wants to send me a link, I will be happy to add it to this post.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Nov PTEX 2018 - from Anthea, Jessica, and RachelD

Three more November envelopes.
Anthea, Jessica, and RachelD.

I think RachelD had trouble making it through the postal system - this is her photo. I might have another post with the one that finally arrived at my house. Or I might have the story completely mixed up - as to why she sent me an image with all of her envelopes.

I love when people take photos of their mail and I get to see the whole stack. Hint-hint.

I especially like it when people do all different themes and I get to see all the other ideas they had.

Maybe I can get some of you (all of you) to be more generous in sharing images of your outgoing mail.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Jan PTEX - Ab-Ex - to Holly, Tina, and Suzanne

The Abstract Expressionist stamps are so lovely - but I'd really need to get out some actual paint. This was done with markers and it's OK -

After I did this one, I did the one to Tina - and was happy that the 3 stamps would meet the requirement for international mail.

Then I had a lapse - and put three on Suzanne's. I guess I like it better with three.

Thank you to Finn who has some good links on his blog - this just in

I'd post one of the photos -- but it is hard to choose - they have some practical windbreakers and jackets - and then there are the tube tops and crop tops. It surprises me that the USPS is OK with someone else commercializing their designs.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Nov 2018 PTEX - Place setting from GraceE

Another fun Thanksgiving themed envelope that arrived last November. I will add the label - so anyone who remembers to search T-day ideas in a few months will see it.

I think Smash sent a similar envelope one time. I hope I have time to look for it.

7 am - Mar 23
I found it

Friday, March 22, 2019

Jan Exchange - to Fatima - Frozen Treats

There is a hint of Neuland to this lettering. I'm using up orphan Forevers as well as the vintage stamps. While I love these stamps, I don't think any of my ideas were all that creative. Brace yourself, there are some real dogs coming up.

Shout out to the BigHelpfulBrother. He turns 70 today and I did not invite anyone to send him a card or envelope because he is in the midst of his Swedish Death Cleaning - and Oh.My.Gosh does he have some wonderful stuff to get rid of. Having a stack of beautiful mail would just frustrate him.

He sent me this link to a charming little video about the Forbes Pigment Collection at the Harvard Art Museums. Five minutes of coolness.

It's been mentioned before, but it is worth mentioning again - a wonderful book about where pigments for paint come from:
Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay

Thursday, March 21, 2019

From Jeri - Nov 2018 - Thankful.

I just found a folder with 6 envelopes that have a bit of seasonal theme. In a perfect world, they would appear next fall, but our *perfect world* on the blog is going to start in 2020.

Inside the lovely envelope from Jeri was this card. She is good at collaging her leftover artwork into cards.

I, too, am thankful for all my penpals.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jan Exchange - to Carole

You will have to imagine the hand cancelling on this one. I will have Bruce stamp the top of each rectangle so that there is a semi-circle on top - and hopefully it will look a bit like a bow on a present.

I was trying to do all of the Jan exchange envelope in Neuland - but did not have the right colors. Half of my chisel markers were hiding from me. So - there are some really wacko envelopes coming up. This one is half-wacky.

I should have done a pencil line for the rectangles. It bothers me the way the lines are extended beyond the box.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

From Patty in November - white bird on black

This is the last Nov envelope that is appearing in the spring. There is plenty about the card and envelope that is fall-like. But the idea could be very springy or summery.

Once again - I love the idea of doing exactly what people have done - except tailor it to a different season and send it back to them. I need a buzz word so that I can do a search to find every time I say that. How about back-atcha.

Here is the card - could just
as easily say spring, summer or winter, eh?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Jan Neuland - to Janet -Ab-Ex

When I ran out of the Greetings stamps and had warmed up with my pseudo-neuland - I turned to the Abstract Expressionist stamps.

My first attempt (pictured below) was so bad, I almost threw it away - but, I think it is helpful to see how something really bad can help with the design decisions. It just looks tortured.

Once I came up with the concept of the top one I was fine with the first name and last name. But, I had not given any thought about the left border. If I had it to do over, I would think of something different for the left border.

It is painful to show the first attempt. I might take it off in a few days - only my most devoted readers deserve to see it. I even pondered putting up a blog just for atrocities. I see a lot of stuff that makes my eyeballs bleed - and have thought about putting those images on their own blog. But, for now, I don't have time.

Here it is:
I hope nobody tosses their cookies.

OK, listen up. I am warning you that there are tattoos in this video. I know some people abhor tattoos. If you can get past the tattoos, there are several other layers of lettering that are very interesting. So many of the traditional calligraphers and people in general have been wringing their hands that calligraphy is a lost art. This video is just a tiny glimpse into a whole world where calligraphy is alive and well and thriving. I've never doubted for a minute that there was anything *lost* about making letters. Sure - electronics offered a bit of distraction for a while - but the urge to do things by hand is not going anywhere. This video is under 2 minutes - but it shows how wildly exciting things are - and how it is not dangerous for people to bust out of the traditional format.

If you want to go to the main page and find a gazillion more videos - you can start here.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

From Janna and Heidi - Nov Exchange (Kells&Lennon)

These two are not a logical pair - Janna's on top is inspired by recent class she took on the Book of Kells.

Heidi's, below, is inspired by John Lennon. Maybe the connection is that The book of Kells and John Lennon are from the same neck of the woods.

Design wise - we have historical and contemporary - both have lines - and both make me want to get out my stuff and do my own spin-offs.

My spin-off on the John Lennon quote is: The more I see, the more I want to steal. For anyone who has missed the memo - Austin Kleon's book, Steal Like an Artist has a ton of good ideas for spinning ideas and explains the difference between OK-stealing and plagiarism.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Jan Neuland to Jean R

This was an early one - where the Neuland still looks like Neuland.
The red marker was so dry - I knew I would not do any others. First I tried to make the name into a sleigh. Then I forgot it was a sleigh and added the roofs. Then I added the smoke and was not happy with how that looked. So I added googlie eyes and some words to make the whole wretched mess into something whimsical.

Friday, March 15, 2019

BIG White on Red -from Jean - Nov

Another example of how beautiful traditional calligraphy can carry the whole envelope. I love the contrast in size.

White on red is always delicious. I was surprised how pretty the stamp went with the color of the envelope. I'm not sure I would have even tried that combo...which shows that you should not reject ideas until you put them closer together.

Inside is a nifty little folded card with a slot and strip of paper holding it together.

I believe Jean has been taking some bookbinding classes. I went through a handmade book phase and it was a fabulous phase. I highly recommend it to anyone who has time and the slightest interest. While some of the techniques are difficult - there are ton of them that are super beginner friendly.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jan Neuland to Maggie and Jessica

These were the last two that I did before I figured it was time to move on - or perhaps I had run out of these stamps. I suspect it was the latter.

I love Maggie's.
I love the style on her last name.
I struggle with her name - the double Gs are so hard.
But this one makes me very happy.

Compared to Maggie's, Jessica's is a little wimpy. It needs a pop of color - but it was time to get these in the mail. Often times, when I am reading the blog on the day it pops up, I will see what I wish I would have done.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

From GraceH - Big Blue November

Grace went rogue and addressed this to George. I sometimes invite people to send mail to Mr. Wilson rather than to me - but I don't think I said anything about that in Nov. I'm fine with people choosing George over me. The J in Jean gives me fits and Gs are so much better. Regular exchangers are welcome to send any of the mailings to George. Heaven knows, it has not been easy living with me - and the chances of it getting better are less than none.

I had a friend who was a very talented photographer and sent me something with my name spelled Gien. I always loved that spelling. It's too late to change my name.

Back to the envelope - I love the idea of putting the NOV as a design element. There are a ton of stealworthy ideas on this one.

And, another fine flap:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jan Neuland to Carolyn and Shirley

After I did Chuck's I knew I would be doing some more that were pretty close to his. There was no planning whatsoever and I'm fine with how they turned out. A few rough drafts would have been better - but sometimes my impulsive lettering is a little better than too much structure.

I botched the Coop and had to cover it up with some of that adhesive paper that has a no-show-through backing. I love that stuff.
 I had to use it on Shirley's, too and I I forgot to trim it on the bottom. It really bugs me. I was tempted to add some pale blue lines - but - again - was nervous about a botch.

Monday, March 11, 2019

From Lauren - November Hello - Lennon, Bird, Feather

Lauren alerted exchangers to the fact that November 21st is World Hello Day and sent a bluebird on the envelope and an actual feather on the card.

I'm wondering if there is a John Lennon song that says Hello - and if I am forgetting another obvious tie-in.

Below is the card.

Details on World Hello Day which recommends saying Hello to ten people once a year may be found here:

World Hello Day

I say *hello* to about 300 people every day right there.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Jan Neuland to Chuck + Book of Kells Link + 101-yr old

See the Neuland in the C?
And the K?
And then it gets a little wild - but I was very pleased.

Then I did that rectangle and -ugh-
not a good idea. Not horrific, but we will not be doing any more.

I was going to put the whole address inside the rectangle, but forgot and wrote his last name which was probably a better idea.

Also --
in case anyone is interested - the Book of Kells is online.

Book of Kells

I posted a couple days ago about Sheila Waters' upcoming birthday. Sheila's husband Peter was a bookbinder and conservator. When he was working on the Book of Kells, Sheila was fortunate enough to be able to tag along and view it up close. Tag along probably isn't the right phrase - but you get the drift.

And while I am adding links....
back in February when I was jabbering about birthdays, I posted a link to the man who went skiing in Utah on his 100th birthday which falls in the summer. He is now 101 - and here is some footage of him on his latest ski trip which is impressive. However, they have included footage of his 45 minute workout. Oh.My.Gosh.

101-yr old skier's workout

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Nov Exchange from Janet - leafy flourishing

Janet's envelope in November has some leaves, so it has a bit of seasonal motif - but the soccer ball and variety of plants tipped it into the *any season* category.

Janet always puts some nice detail on the flap, too --- something I'd do if I had a tiny bit more time.