Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Feb Exchange Wrap Up

I lost count of how many hearts I did in February, but I am sure that this is not a re-run because I know I have not typed Annastasia yet. I have to mention each name in the posts so I can do searches.

And Heidi - hers should have been grouped with an earlier bunch.

Which brings us to Jessica who has been exchanging for a while now. I had a whole sheet of the doll stamps and was happy with this color combination, but after I mailed it and looked at the image, I realized that it would have been better to do the border all the way around. It was done with Cocoiro. I do not care for the stair stepped stamps. It would have been better to do a complete border and put the stamps over the top.

My apologies to everyone who received an exchange envelope from me in April -- none of them pleased me. If you want a do-over - please let me know. You'll have to sign up for the May exchange to get the do-over. It will be inside the May envelope.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Jan PTEX from Janet, Patty & Lynne - Black

Janet and Patty seem to be on the same wavelength. It seems like there are previous times when I paired their envelopes.

I neeeed to try Janet's lettering.

Patty has some nice birch trees. As I recall, she did some really nice birch trees on a white envelope. Once again - search [Patty] on the blog and there will be a number of very nice examples of her work. Same for [Janet].

Patty's insert is a postcard. I really liked how it looked with the envelope. I could see me stealing those flowers.

And Lynne has neon colors on black - always a good combination. Doing a partial border diagonal from the stamp is an idea to note. I tend to stay away from corners - but envelope design is different.
Keeping the stamp in the PO's preferred location allows for other corner action.
It's a quirky situation.

It is 8:45 am - I mentioned a few days ago that I was timing myself on how long it took to do 15 posts. All the photography, cropping, uploading, posting, and blurb writing took less than two hours. That's pretty good. It means I can run the blog on 4 hours per month or 48 hours per year.

Now I have to figure out how much time I spend on the exchange.
In theory, I could address 25-30 envelopes in an hour - or maybe 2.
I'm expecting to be done clearing out all the vintage stamps within the next couple of months.
Using only current stamps should streamline the process.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Feb to Fatima, Anthea, Marie and Troy

Remember all the gray hearts on the February envelopes? After hearts had run their course, I lapsed into my go-to style DuBosche Jubilee. Technically - DJ is done with broad edge - so this needs its own name. Jean-ilee?

I was pretty happy with this one and surprised when the next two were not quite as lively. Fatima's is better because of the overlapping.

Troy's is buried in the stack because it is a snooze. It needed something, but I was pretty sure I would mess it up if I added anything else. There is some sparkle on the name that might not show up.

Although, Troy and I chit chatted about the weather in the sign-up- emails and I learned that he has never lived more than 3 hours away from the Gulf of Mexico. I thought his envelope gave a feeling of the cold whiteness that we experience *way up north* - in Iowa.

If anyone wants a glimpse into those people who spend the winter in Antarctica, I highly recommend the Netflix offering, Antarctica: A Year on Ice. Wow -- it left me with more questions than I thought possible. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2361700/

Shout out to the chickadees  -- and to the client who left me with 50 chickadees because she only wanted red birds on her holiday mailing. I love those stamps.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Jan PTEX From Suzanne (Quiltish)

The second envelope from SuzanneE is a style that's been around for a while. In fact it was one of the very first I remember seeing that lured me into the world of lettering as opposed to just calligraphy.

There were some nice books on marker lettering that included this style. I just looked on John Neal Bookseller's website and can't find them. Maybe they are out of print. Does anyone know? I do not recall the name of the author. She might have been Canadian?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Eight Orphans - Kraft and Babies

After spending three days on a job using gold Sharpies on shimmer envelopes - also - centering the names and addresses on squares -- I had a raging headache from the fumes as well as the centering.

It was also the point at which the exchange was mentioned on an old calligraphy list -serve and I had several (7?) new people sign up and I thought I should pull out some real nibs and ink. I enclosed a note explaining why it was wonky lettering because some of the traditional scribes really don't like wonky. It was therapeutic to mess around with nibs and ink after all that Sharpie/shimmer stuff.

I threw Miss Cathy in with this group because she frequently sends me *real* calligraphy. Same with GraceE. I guess Suzanne is not a first timer either.

I had not pondered stamps - and it worked out nicely that the babies looked fine on the kraft paper. I played around with different ways of placing the stamps.

I have to mention all the first names in case I ever want to do a search for the envelopes that went to particular people. Pam, Maureen, Cynthia, Irene, Beverly.

Bonus Post - Exploding head

Today's regular post is right below this one.

There have not been any *head-exploding* posts in a while.  There was that one post with the list of challenges that my merry band of readers have been facing.

Normally, doing envelopes is an antidote for the daily struggles - somehow, it's not working for me at the moment.

I spent the first three weeks of April in Chicago - and really struggled with getting my exchange envelopes done. I am not sure I can pull myself together by May - so I am going to try something different.

If you sign up for the exchange in May, I will put my name on the list as an optional additional exchanger. If you want to exchange with me -- you send me an envelope. I only respond to the people who send me an envelope. You do not need to remember this information. I will explain it when I send out the lists. But, I wanted you to know ahead of time that when you get your May list, it will have this option.

I still love doing the blog --- the only part that was not fun this month was doing my own envelopes. I am confident that I will enjoy doing the envelopes again -- once I get a few other things in order. I'm even thinking of adding IG to my daily posting. The Daily Coyote inspired me to consider that option.

The photo is from this article:


If you need to kill time --- this site has a steady stream of fun stuff:


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Jan PTEX from Lauren - Caulder

Alexander Caulder is one of my favorite artists. Lauren did a good job of channeling her inner-Caulder. I keep forgetting to ask her what program she uses for her digital designs.

The enclosed card is not digital. Again - maybe she will tell us how she did the design. It is very cool in person. There are some nice sparkles that might not show up in the photo.

I have a pretty illuminated Z - but I do not know anyone with a Z initial. If any of you want it - let me know.

Send your snail mail address to me at
jmwilson411 at yahoo dot com

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Feb to Holly, GraceH and Lauren - Love and Wheat

The last of the wheat stamps. Not much to say about this.

Below are the other two that used up the Love stamps.

They are fine.

I guess they show a couple different options for decorating Neuland based lettering. Putting red and green right next to each other is tricky. Overlapping them will make brown.

The envelopes are nice Crane's envelopes - and a little bit bleedy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jan PTEX from SuzanneE and CaroleV - Script and Birds

This was Suzanne's first exchange. She signed up for two lists and I forgot to tell her that when I am on two lists with someone, I only send one envelope and only expect one in return - so this is the first one. I'm a big fan of hand drawn script. This reminds me of what I call ribbon writing.

Below is one more bird envelope that arrived It is from CaroleV. Another nice theme carried through stamp, card, and envelope.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Feb to JeanR and Lynne - Love stamps

Remember how I said I would/should choose the stamps before starting the envelopes? These stamps have been in the stash for a long time and it was hard to let them go, but February seemed like a good time and I figured I'd be able to do some decent lettering based on Neuland.

The first idea was OK. I penciled the name to make sure it would fit and then right after the O - I could see that my pencil lines must have left out one or two letters - so it turned into a big fat mess. I tried a double stroke to remedy the situation.

I had enough stamps to do 4 envelopes.
Here is number two... once again poor planning did not leave enough space - but I made it work. I took these in for hand cancelling - which is always red - and the cancels helped.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Jan PTEX from JeanR and AlexW - Birds

There were some welcome birds in January. I am pleased with the POs decision to not cancel JeanR's envelope. It's soooo pretty with the bird. Loving the white space.

Alex filled up the space - and I like the amount of feathers she chose. There is the right amount of space around the feathers.

She lined the envelope with washi tape and her detail on the flap is adorable.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Feb to Janet - Mini Flowers

 InstaGram has just as many cool images and ideas as Pinterest. The page at the bottom caught my eye and filling in a J seemed like a good idea. I used a Pentel Ceramicron - which is a technical pen rather than a marker. An 005 Pigma Micron would work, too. But the Ceramicron has a metal tip so it's sturdier.

It was fun and would be a boatload of fun to do more of it. I'd start by enlarging the inspiration image and studying the details more closely.

I was so sure I had put the IG name on the image so you could go see more of this person's work - but it is hiding at the moment. Hopefully, I will find it....

Here it is --- BHB just alerted me to the name in the corner


Friday, April 19, 2019

Jan PTEX - Heidi and Holly - Handmade+edibles+tape

Heidi (top) must have been really happy when she found that stamp to go with the handmade envelope. The border is washi tape. I have refrained from getting into washi tape. Sometimes the washi tape gets mangled by the postal system. Happily, this came through perfectly.

Holly went old-school and used scotch tape. I can't remember the generic name for tape that is clear. Scotch is the only brand I buy so I can't look in my drawer.

It's always fun to find pairings that are so similar. Although, I just discovered that Holly's is from the Nov exchange and I have no idea how it snuck into the Jan pile.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

March PTEX to Daine (and black reject)

Diane received two envelopes. This was the outer envelope and the inner envelope is below. I went back and forth on the black one - and eventually decided it just looked like germs instead of happy dots. It did not help that I was in the middle of reading a book about some people who spent a couple weeks in Honduras solving a very old mystery. They found a lost city - buried in the jungle. Native people had many legends connected with the site and they all included warnings. The outsiders should have heeded the warning.

Many of the people who were on the expedition came down with leishmaniasis. It is the second deadliest parasitic disease in the world and kills sixty thousand people yearly. They can tell that the disease is ancient - also - the lost city in Honduras was probably wiped out by the diseases that the colonial explorers brought to the new world -- but the disease seems to be extracting its revenge.  I don't want to alarm anyone about what's up with this disease. If you want the details, the book is The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston. If you are even a tiny bit squeamish, don't read it. I'm not even sure why it caught my eye... the disease isn't even the worst part - snakes worse than anything I've ever heard of and at night - the entire campsite was carpeted with cockroaches.

I was able to peel the stamps off and use them on other envelopes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Jan PTEX from SuzanneB and JessicaS - Animals

I'm in love with those sheep on Suzanne B's envelope. So fun.

Jessica's creature-letters are fun, too. Although I do not have those stamps so I probably won't ever do creature letters. There might be a couple in my stash from the sheet of bugs and insects. That was one fabulous set.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Feb to Trish - Bee +Flower

More Pinterest inspiration - as I recall it had a rectangle somewhere that I had to ditch because of poor planning.

The scale of the flower and the bee really bothers me - and you know the rule if there are two things wrong, just do something else that is wrong and then it might be fine. I would not consider this fine - but some of the elements were cute enough that it didn't get pitched.

Or maybe I was in a panic because I had 38 people on the list. That's the most we've ever had. I might have to leave myself off some of the lists...not sure I can do that many envelopes every month. I *can* -- but the quality suffers a lot when I am cranking them out that fast.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Jan/Dec PTEX from Grace - Gingerbread

This arrived in January but might have been a late December PTEX envelope. If it was, it was definitely worth the wait. I love it and would (will) steal...the combination of tiny script with bold italic as well as the  little stamped image.

I love the cancel at the bottom which leaves Santa all neat and tidy in his corner.

The card inside is also quite lovely.

For people who will join me in stealing - steal her simple yet very effective layout with three elements.
One is the focal point.
The proportions between large and small are spot on.
Yay white space.
I could go on - but will hope the main takeaway is how beautiful it is to Less-is-more it.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Feb to Carole - Matisse

Hey, while we are appropriating ideas off Pinterest let's go for some of the Matisse envelopes. There are quite a few with these Warhol-esque flowers, stripes and dab-dots.

I used a Cocoiro marker which has a nice little brush tip. While I like blue and yellow, it was really hard to use this stamp on this envelope -- but there are no more yellows left in the stash.

This might have been the month I learned my lesson -- do not start any envelopes until you have the actual stamps in front of you.

Here is the inspiration envelope. It reminds me of etegami. We will be talking about etegami when I return from my trip. If you want to dive in ahead of time -- just Google etegami.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jan PTEX from Jadie and Angie - Bold, black with details

Jadie did her interpretation of the lettering on the stamp. Very pretty. That stamp looks good on so many colors, plus it is still available.

Angie enclosed a note telling me how many things she was able to use on a shimmer envelope.

Sumi ink
Inktense Aqueous pencils
Sakura Glaze pens
Sakura Calligrapher marker

Inktense pencils have been on my list of items I can't have until I get my hoard managed.
I had some glaze pens - would love to replace them some day.
I have Sakura Calligrapher markers -- so WOW - if they work - that will help a lot.
Not sure if I will try sumi - I might.... it looks great. She used a Speedball B3 nib which has a flat circle at the tip so you can make really bold lines. They are very cool and I have some....

Friday, April 12, 2019

Feb to Maggie - MMMMM

The first M was too small so I added the larger one and just did a bunch more. Another one done during a break from actual work. I need a nickname for the envelopes I do when I already know I am too tired to do anything decent, but I need to do something fun to recuperate from actual work. Is there a name for that?

Anyhow - it was Maggie's birthday month and I think I did one or two bonus envelopes for her. Wonder if I remembered to photograph all of them.

This one was lifted from Pinterest and I had a decent pencil guide.
The first problem was the drawing of the hand. It should have been done with the lighter weight pen. Then I completely botched her name and knew that I could not put Julian Waters stamps on an envelope with those M's -- and so I just took a picture and knew that these two would go inside something else. The something else didn't go quite as I had hoped - but that's my perpetual experience -- hits and misses. To be balanced - you might as well be happy when half the things you try work out. To expect more than half of your life to be all peachy is unrealistic.

Am I off my rocker?
That's a trick question. What you are supposed to say is -- how can you quantify whether things are *good* or *bad*? You can't. Therefore, it is pointless to even evaluate whether things are good or bad.

OK, that's even more ridiculous.
No it isn't.
It's sound logic and I know for a fact that I earned an A in logic at a real university. It was the easiest course I ever took. I still remember how everyone glared at me when I filled out the final exam - looked around and saw that I was the first one finished - so, I went over it a second time and fixed my penmanship. Still - nobody else was done. So, I took it up to the professor. He scanned down the sheet. Looked up at me and nodded his head. I felt a room full of daggers plunging into my back as I walked out of the room. But, they all had the last laugh because they probably ended up with careers. Sadly, there are no jobs for logicians.