Sunday, June 30, 2019

May PTEX to Chuck (Lynn's Style)

At some point, I need to write a post about tracking down Lynn - the person I was looking for. I found her through the Bow Valley calligraphy guild and this style is on their website.

I need to find the link and also the spelling of Lynn's last name.

This was a very rough try to see if I wanted to do more. The stamps are leftovers from way back to the time that custom stamps were first available. While they are not a nice color choice for the lettering - I used them on Chuck's because he had met the mom in the photo-stamp on the left at our guild meetings and we had a memorable guild meeting at the temple on the right. It is a couple blocks from my house and we had a presenter whose work was (is) fabulous. I wonder if I can find him on IG. If I do, I'll come back and insert a link.

Here is a bit of the email from Lynn:

 I wrote the first of the four Marker Lettering books in 1997, and the “Fun Letters” are included in this volume. I  sold them through my mail order business and taught lots of classes for card makers and scrapbookers at that time.  John Neal did carry them for quite a few years.  Now they are carried by one local art store here in Calgary only, and I no longer have stock in my home.  I could certainly make them available again if there was sufficient interest.  They are self published.  
    The book explains that the first inspiration for these letters came from a lettering piece done by my friend Kirsten Horel, and I developed the alphabet from these few letters.  
    With the current renewed interest in hand lettering, and so many wonderful new lettering tools available, it might be fun to revisit some of these older ideas! 
    If you want any more information please feel free to contact me by email!  Cheers! Lynn Slevinsky


So -- yes -- I think Lynn should make her exemplars available.
I think Etsy is the way to go.
Hopefully, I'll have time to brainstorm with her.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Bonus Post - Kate's Etegami

While organizing all the images on my computer, I found this in a folder labeled *not blogged* so there is a good chance it has not been posted. If it is a repeat, let me know and I will remove it.

I know I mentioned etegami on the blog - previously. Or maybe I didn't. Either way, I am mentioning it again.

It is a very cool way to hold a brush and make a very loose interpretation of something. You may Google it and find all kinds of examples.

In a perfect world, I would have time to do my own - but, the world is not perfect. Is there a good word for the opposite of perfect? Probably. And it would fit nicely in a little yin/yang thingy.

Daily post is right below this post.

Mar PTEX from SuzanneB and CarolynC

You really need to see the cactus envelope from SuzanneB in person to appreciate how delicate it is. It is an original drawing with watercolor. The card inside looks like gel pen and is cute as a button.

Below is CarolynC's envelope. I ganged these two to remind all of us that you can't go wrong with something-on-the-left + stamps in the corner + address to fit.

Friday, June 28, 2019

May PTEX to Faye

Buh-bye orphans.

It would be hard to ruin an envelope using these stamps.

The coffee pot does not add anything. It's just a necessary evil.

The red was done with  PITT - and I went over it about three times. It's a little ragged - hence the square dots.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Mar PTEX from MissCathy and Maggie

Cathy's border is printed although it looks like something she could have done. Her Spencerian is lovely. She included a nice brush-strokey-flowery-leafy item that could be used as a bookmark.

Maggie sent a birthday greeting but one of the stamps fell off. It might have had some rainbow colors to it since she used rainbow colors on the word *happy.* Inside was the sweetest little note card that she had printed using some of her original artwork.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

May - End of Vintage - to Heidi, Carolyn, and Jessica

The May exchange envelopes are a hodge podge. The tail end of the vintage stamps were a mixed bag of feelings. Luckily, I pulled out the scroll tips and remembered how much I love them. They resolved my issues with saying goodbye.

I even ended up thinking these three were nice design ideas that would be worth remembering.

Carolyn's is fine. The stamps do not coordinate at all.
But I'm fine with the layout and I'm happy with the style of lettering.

I botched the spacing on Jessica's. The two stamps did not go together - colorwise - so I just drew a line through the middle and was going to address it twice.
After I did the address down the middle, I figured the original idea as probably better. It bugs me the way the stamps do not line up...actually, the tilting on Carolyn's bothers me, too. It cannot be said too many times -- lining things up is comforting. Maybe not to everyone. But, don't fall into the trap of thinking that you need to develop visual interest by tilting things. That snow man should be sitting just above the zip code and the LA stamp should be somewhere - not tilted. Just my opinion, but I am right.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Mar PTEX from Lauren, Cynthia, CaroleV and Patty -- WRITE MORE

Lauren's bird is so cool. The stamps and birds are also fun - in the tree. Very whimsical.

Additional envelopes with imagery include these from Cynthia, CaroleV, and Patty

Apologies if I did not make it back to this post to write more. I'm on a tight deadline in March as I get these posts lined up.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Bonus Post - May PTEX from Maggie

This one intrigues me - I have so many questions about where the ideas came from. I like the grid. I like the lettering. This one gets a stealworthy label so I remember to come back and do something along these lines. Technically -- all the mail is stealworthy - so don't feel slighted if I do not tag yours stealworthy.

I just finished all the May incoming mail - and discovered that this one was hiding - so I decided to just bump it forward.

Regular daily post is right below.

MarPTEX - First and Last - Fatima and Holly

Technically, I did try to restrain myself when I did the March envelopes, using the set of rainbow colored brush markers.

These were the first two.
I had chosen the stamps.
And then I thought they were just too blah.

So, the moral of the story is ???
I don't know that I ever learn anything from myself. It is the end of April. Maybe when I read this in June, I'll have a better perspective. Or maybe an update.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Apr PTEX from RachaelT and Jessica (edit?)

More flowers.

I hope I remember to come back and write more.

What's not to like about flowers?
I'm not wordy today. Too many things on the to-do list. I also read an article on procrastination which has me highly motivated to reform.

I'm introducing a feature where I put (edit?) in the subject line, so that I acknowledge it is a lame blurb so that if something blog worthy comes up in the future, I know which blurbs could use something more interesting.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bonus Post - Two from Samantha in May

Today's regular post is below.

This one is getting posted promptly because it knocked my socks off. Other May exchange envelopes are scheduled to run in August.

Samantha-or-just-Sam (I'll stick with Sam) is a new exchanger. I asked her how she found the blog and will have to go back and find the answer. There were parts that intrigued me.

I love-love-love this kind of drawing. My memory is foggy - but I think she might have said that this was inspired by one of mine - and if it was, I might know which one - which might be why I was drawn to it.

Anyhow - I love-love-love it.

Her other envelope is below. It's super fun. And I love the tagline - the elevated envelope queen. I remember those stamps - all art done by kids. I loved those stamps. Kid art is always inspirational.

Sam has let me know that she is not opposed to my offering comments on her artwork.
One thing that I would have done differently -- have the two lines of the address relate to the two lines of the tagline to the right of Jean. I would have made them flush left and start right under the W. I would have matched the point size and spacing.

On second thought - if you picture the 2 address lines starting flush left with the Wilson  - that might have made the vertical *line* (line-up) too strong. The cancel is an added element over which we have no control.  The address lines might have been fine if they were flush left and lined up with the J.

She set the bar really high when she sent the blue people. Every envelope will be compared to that one. Sorry. We will try to refrain from doing that, but we will not succeed. And this probably explains why I am so critical of my own envelopes. It is because every once in a while I pop out with something I love --- and I wish I could do that every time. (and I could if I had time and unlimited art supplies - but I don't)

Sam: Feel free to correct me about any of the things I mentioned that I may or may not have remembered correctly. I don't have time to dig back through the emails at this time.

This is the one - of mine- that reminds me of Sam's blue people.

MarPTEX - Tan Big Script

It took me three tries to make a Leslie that I liked. Then I wanted to add something, but chickened out.

Ditto on Lauren's and Patty's. Patty knows I struggle with her name.

I'm almost done with the March exchange envelope. It was the month that gave me a pseudo migraine. I don't actually make myself sick over my obsessing. But there is some weird thing that takes over.

As some of you have pointed out, I preach that we should all be more positive and not bad-mouth our work --- and then I bad-mouth my own work. So, I'll have to resolve that. There must be something logical going on. Obviously, if you make stuff --- you probably don't do everything *just-right* the first time. Maybe I should compare it to cooking. You might try a new recipe and then tweak it.

I guess my comments are just suggestions for tweaking. If I had unlimited funds for envelopes, I would just do each one enough times that I got to a place where I was happy with them.

I just remembered --- an envelope company contacted me about doing business --- I was out of town and told them I would get back to them --- I must do that (4-27-19)

Friday, June 21, 2019

Apr PTEX from Diane, Inta and Troy

Diane does some beautiful pointed pen work and she also makes those cool flowers where you load a paint brush and make carefully placed an choreographed strokes.

Below is Inta's pretty handmade envelope. I can't tell if it is a cake or a hatbox or a painting intended to be ambiguous.

And below that is Troy's envelope. I like the organic feel of the lettering. But, I am confused about why he put two stamps on the envelope.

Oh, never mind. I figured it out. His envelope is really close to 6-1/8" tall. It is slightly under - so it would have been fine with one stamp.
But he was probably concerned - and decided to play it safe. Am I right, Troy?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

MarPTEX - Restraining the Rainbow

Two more where I finally figured out that I might do a better job if I did not use all the colors in the rainbow set.

Kate's is OK. If I had it to do over, I would have made the K and R larger. But at least the white space is not offensive.

On Robert's, I desperately wanted to add something - but as I recall, I let it go that way. Maybe not. It's weird how I can't remember anything once it is mailed. Although, I do remember how disappointed I was in myself that I did not do something better for Robert. This was his first time exchanging. I should have one idea ( or a few )  that I love - to use whenever there is a new person in the exchange.

There are so many people who only do the exchange once -- and I always wonder if they are disappointed in what they receive. But, I do not spend much time on that kind of pondering. The *whys* behind participation will be mysteries -- forever. Unless I win the lottery. Then I will hire a crew to drive me around the USA in a big tour bus and I will visit eVeRyOnE - both the frequent exchangers as well as the one-timers. And there will be a video crew. A YouTube channel where you can watch my conversations. I wonder where one goes to order a tour bus?

We already know that any question can be answered in one click. Here is my dream trip vehicle.

Atlas Obscura had a contest recently. They were looking for people to describe a dream trip and there will be winners. Sadly, they were not impressed with my dream trip and I received a polite email letting me know how much they enjoyed reading all the entries. They will feature the winning trips at some point and I'll post them here so we can decide if they were more worthy than my trip.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Frozen Treats from GraceE + Design Tip Information

This was a bonus envelope from GraceE last year - you need to click on the image to enlarge it and see the gorgeous detail.

I'm writing this in November - and hoping that they printed a ton of those stamps and that they will be available through the summer of 2019.

********* June 18th P.S.

I am cross-posting this information on one of my other blogs. Art for the Intimidated.

It has taken 6 years to come up with the second post on my Art for the Intimidated blog. Art for the Intimidated was a class I designed and you may read all about it on the tab labeled History. (It is not written, yet. I'll work on it.)

I get many requests for Design Tips. While it is easy to rattle off lots of tips, I read an article this morning that explains why *tips* are only half helpful.

You may read the full article here:

Robert Genn gave me permission to reprint and link to his material. He has passed on and his daughter reruns articles that he wrote over the years. If you have time, go to the archive and read all of them.

The point he made that resonated with me is this:
 ...many would-be artists confuse interest with aptitude. Interest alone does not a great artist make. Most of us who would make art need a bit of talent, a dose of character, and good work habits.

IMHO taking classes or workshops is part of the work that is necessary. It takes work. That is why they call it artwork. Most of the work that looks effortless actually took a lot of work.

I will be posting some tips on the other blog. I'll cross post them here.

I am happy to share tips, but I also know that to really understand and apply design principles, you need to *work.* That is the value of taking formal classes. You get assignments and you struggle and then what you learn becomes second nature. Like learning to ride a bike or drive a car or fly a jet airplane. Three different levels of difficulty. It is obvious that the learning curve on each is different.

It is the same with art. You can learn a few tips to make your work look better. Or you can study harder and get to my *drive a car* level. Or you can immerse yourself in the topic and become a rock star designer (jet pilot). I'm no rock star. But, I do have some skill that pleases my eye from time to time.

People who are at the bicycle level are welcome to read my tips. There are endless internet opportunities to find other tips as well as full blown education. Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

MarPTEX - to Tina

This one was done with the markers that were used on all those rainbow envelopes that gave me a migraine.

At the very end, I finally figured out how to not use all the colors. I did not have any stamps in mind, so these are not my favorites - but at least they did a good job of contributing to the hoard-reduction.

Maybe I should have just done vine work on all the envelopes. Maybe May will be vinework month.

Monday, June 17, 2019

From Lisa and JeanR - July - Stars and Scraps

Top one from Lisa came in July - hence the stars. I like the Mr.Rogers stamp as an alternative to the flags.

And below - from JeanR - some collage that looks like she might have been using up some scrap paper. It looks like paper that was sitting to the side of the desk where there was a lot of pen-testing. I always like *test paper.* Years ago, when I taught Art for the Intimidated, when we did the unit on painting, I always handed out a piece of scrap paper and showed how essential it was to do a test stroke before you headed to the paper. Then I would sneak around and collect them and show how many of them could be cropped and turned into very pleasing abstract painting. There is something about mindless strokes that can be very fresh.


Swedish Death Cleaning in the kitchen. I decided the sell by date on pasta was just a technicality. Pasta lasts forever, right? I stopped eating pasta - but needed to feed Mr. Wilson. There were no bad side effects - and it has been over a week. Now I am pondering the cocoa from 2013. I can't imagine there is anything wrong with it. He gets one chocolate cake per year (in February) so a can of cocoa is going to last a long time. My question is not - should I continue to eat these items - should I be sharing the details with Mr. Wilson before he has dinner?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

4th of July from Janet and Jolene

This envelope is pretty dreamy. Janet made two comments. One on a note inside that said she had "gotten a little carried away with the marbling." And then on the flap she wrote, "Sorry for the visual overload."

I dunno. It looks like the 4th of July to is a rare day that I can say that I like an envelope with flag stamps....and I really like this one.

I do not have any idea how she did this one. She has grandkids. Maybe it's the shaving cream technique. Maybe she'll send us an email with directions. Maybe it is a trade secret.


Now it is June 9th - and I am adding one more 4th of July idea to this post. It arrived in May from Jolene. She used washi tape and the lettering is Akim. If you Google *akim* you can find exemplars. There is also an envelope from this blog that pops up that includes Akim in the blurb - but I need to modify the blurb because I was clearly off my rocker the day I wrote it.

Cleaver way to put the stamp on a flagpole and props to the PO for the nice placement of the cancel. Not that they can choose where a machine cancels - so it's props to the PO for not sending it through multiple times.

Friday, June 14, 2019


INTA always signs up for the exchange with her name in all caps.

As I have mentioned before, I struggle with mixing stamps on the non-US addresses.

At the end of the March addressing, I was brain-fried from making poor choices and appropriated these WPA posters from the folder that Mr. Wilson keeps with stamps. I had only recently discovered them.

They are so pretty - and I like the soft colors - I knew the lettering needed something stronger, somewhere -- but I chickened out.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mar PTEX - St. Patrick's Day

Here are all the St. Patrick's Day ideas that arrived in March.

Maggie had the cutest pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on the stamp. I'm honored that I got that stamp as it was not available in multiples of that one - it came in a set with others.

Leslie used a nib and ink and paired it with March Madness - the basketball.

Maureen's is so pretty because white on a dark color is lovely and she has taken the time to learn how to use nibs and ink.

GraceE also has some dreamy pointed pen lettering. Each of these deserve to have their own posting, but there are not enough days in a year to give each person their own post.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

MarPTEX - The Last Quilts

Might be the last quilts. There might be two left to use on a US address.

When I was at the vintage stamp store looking for a second sheet of the illustrator stamps, there were probably a dozen sheets of these quilts. It was sooooo tempting to get more. Luckily, it was fresh in my mind that I really had not done a very good job with my last sheet.

There was also a sheet of the Hanukkah candles that look great on birthday envelopes. I was so tempted. The BHB actually encouraged me to buy them. I had to snap at him that he is supposed to be supporting my rehab.

The guy running the shop looked at us like we were nuts and even made fun of me, out loud, for thinking a $6.80 purchase was out of line. He normally only works in the coin section of the shop and has very little interest in stamps. I like those stores where it is very clear that collecting things is akin to being addicted to drugs. But we agree to joke about it. I asked what the most expensive coin was that he had ever sold. A Morgan dollar - $45,000. That's why he laughs at a $6 purchase.

THEN -- (dramatic music - dunt-dunt-dunt)  we started talking about the option to buy stamps at LESS THAN FACE VALUE. Yup, the owner of the shop (who was not there that day) sells bags of stamps that are worth $100 but he only charges --- $85 or maybe it was a different number. Way back when I did buy a bag of them but I had to take whatever he put in the bag. It never occured to me to ask him if I could participate in the selection of the stamps. I'm pretty sure I can restrain myself from even asking --- but maybe not.

I'll keep all y'all posted.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Bonus Post - May PTEX from KateR

KateR sent this fun versal-esque design. I kept looking at that D and finally realized it is an N. The POs additions are nice.

It is etched in stone in my head: Do NOT go to the PO on Monday. So, yesterday (Monday), my pea-brain was at home on a shelf and I stopped in to see Bruce, Mr. Reliable. Bruce was not there, so I went to *Red* who does not wear a nametag. After a miserable experience with creating the envelopes (which is why I was so intent on getting them out of the house), it went from bad to worse. Red was not able to add 37+37 in her head. She stamped the square envelopes with a non-machinable rubber stamp. And then she decided that my From: and To: were not going to work. There's more, but I will spare you.

It was a good lesson in how to stop obsessing. Four exchangers got an email from me yesterday apologizing for the envelopes. OK, that's just plain nuts. I'm perfectly happy to be quirky - but I draw the line at nuts.

Sometimes we make things that turn out perfectly. Other times they offend us deeply - and we are responsible for making - pardon my French - complete crap - which completely undermines our self-worth. I'm getting a handle on this. If anyone can relate - I hope you can use this as a reminder to not be so frustrated when things do not turn out the way you were imagining.

Once upon a time I met a guy who was a professional watercolor artist. One of the things I learned from him was that he worked on 30 paintings at a time. This allows time for each layer to dry. He said that of the 30 he was working on only about 3 would end up as finished artwork to sell. I remember being surprised, but I have learned over the years that with some mediums, you have a certain amount of waste and you have to accept that.

I learned that in the summer of 1969 - so, it is one of those lessons that is 50 years old. Why do some lessons stick but others are revolving door situations?

Regular daily post right below.

Mar PTEX from Pam and SuzanneB

Flowers pop up quite often in the exchange. If I had time, I would go back and see if there was ever a month without any flowers. Maybe October --

Pam's is on top. A nice coordination with the stamps. I like the lettering on my name, too.

SuzanneB did some really delicate drawing on the flowers. You probably need to see it in person to appreciate how delicate it is. She included a sweet little birdy gift card.

You'd think when I am churning out ideas that are not pleasing me that I would learn to put flowers in the lower left. It is a pretty fool-proof design.

Big news on the computer front. The Big Brainy Helpful Brother told me for the umpteenth time that my computer would be slow if I kept 20+ tabs open at one time. This time he told me over FaceTime and he was wearing his *mean* glasses and a hat and the lighting was ominous and he completely intimidated me. It was really scary. But, it reformed me - magically and instantly.

So - I am opening a new business. It's called UncleDonis. My brother is a Donald and Uncle Fremmis is -bar none- the best short story ever written. I regret spoiling it for all y'all but, I have to relate the premise. In a nutshell, Uncle Fremmis is a guy who can fix things. BigHelpfulBrother is a genius at fixing things. A frickin' genius (I'll tell a story later) Uncle Fremmis gets into the business of *fixing* people. I won't tell you exactly how he does it - but it is a rather intimidating process. BigHelpfulBrother is very intimidating when he wants to be. So, I am going to set up a business where people pay me for the opportunity to have the BHB *fix* some stupid thing they keep doing.
I'm not sure how I can get the BHB onboard - but it seems like a waste of his talent that I am the only one who gets all my ineptitude fixed. Seems like something we should offer to a wider audience.