Thursday, October 31, 2019

GraceH's Purple Dragon

There are so many nice features to this one. Grace pulled a lot of fun details off the stamps.

In some ways, that orange rectangle looks like it might be covering up a mistake -- but it is such a nice chunk of color. It livens up the composition.

I would be tempted to steal all of these ideas - but I also know I would not have the patience to be really precise - and it would not be effective at all if it was sloppy.

Dang -- those dragon stamps were so good.
We're gonna miss them when they're gone.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Gee's to RachaelT, Lovie & A&B

Here's another version of the Gee's style. It's the first one with no bold strokes. The street address is inside the O in Thomas. And the city-state-zip is to the left of the 2. I deeply regret the 8 - but am letting it go. (I appropriated the line *deeply regret* from something Rachael wrote on one of her envelopes.) The 8 should have been two squares, stacked without the *neck.*

Lovie's envelope has only one bold stroke. Lovie works for the USPS - so that address is the main post office. I did Lovie's before I refilled the marker. I actually like it better with the streaky lines.

The eclipse stamp would be perfect, but I do not have one. The caterpillar is not affixed. I'll give it to her without a stamp and hope she can get an eclipse stamp.

I only did a few halloween envelopes this year. I didn't spend much time on this one - because Alex and Ben are just turning 6 and 4 - and are pleased with anything. I should have taken a picture of the card I sent inside. I drew masks on a picture of the 4 of them. My daughter and son-in-law are not savers of ephemera. It's fine with me. One envelope hoarder in the family is quite enough.

Oh -- what the heck. I forgot to make my noon coffee because I was being so productive - I can take a minute and make another card. Alex, the nearly 6 year old already told me that the one I sent needed a stem on the pumpkin. Ben the 4 yr old said he did not like it. Sweet little filter-less munchkins.

I had a friend help me with the birth announcements and she had them printed at a place that sends 250 whether you need that many or not - for a base price of $30. So, 4 years later I have about 100 left - I use them as stuffers in my *empty* exchange envelopes. I'm thinking I can come up with a bunch more holiday ideas for future mailings.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Gee's Style to Jean and Lynne

Remember that style I started on Sam's envelopes a couple days ago? Well, I actually started with these. And technically, there were some that came prior to these.

I have been caught up in some projects where people made requests and sometimes the requests are super easy. Other times, it takes a while to get the idea that I like best.

Previously, when I have made scathing remarks about my envelopes, there have been some comments telling me that I should not make scathing remarks.

Conversations follow where I explain that I often see places that I would like to fix - but time does not permit. It is a subtle point - but an important point. Trust me - if I make something that is ugly and you like it, that does not make you right and me wrong. You are welcome to like ugly stuff.

Both of these have problems. I messed up the spider web on the top one and the lowercase Birthday on the bottom one was a huge mistake. But -- Jean and Lynne are both honor roll members and they know that I have to keep up the pace -- and drop the problems in the mail.

I'm calling this style Gee's style.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Display at the Post Office

There were some job-shifts at the main post office, so I needed to update my envelopes. I can't remember if I ever ran the photos of the displays. Natalie tells me that they are getting a lot of comments. It would be nice if I could get two different boards done for holiday mailings.

I have to redo that lavender one on the bottom. It is addressed to the postmaster general and I hear she is retiring.

These are all pretty tame. If people are going to try their hand at mail art, they should make the addresses very clear.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Heidi - Trish missing + possible re-runs

Heidi - top
Trish - below

I loaded a bunch of scans onto the blog and was going to come back and write the blurbs. By the time I got back - I found that some of the images were missing and I can't find them.

This is why I have drawn a line - and will just start over. If you sent mail that never appears on the blog, I apologize. It's been chaotic here. Urgent matters like putting in railings on the steps so that I can get in and out of my house when the steps are covered with ice.

One would think you just hire someone to do it. No. That is not how it works. I will not bore you with the details of how (excuse my couthfree language) frickin' hard it is to get railings. But, the blog has to compete with other activities. If I fall and break something, it would be very bad for the blog.

From now until Jan 1st, I will be inserting photos that may or may not have already run.

Like these. I feel like I have blogged them, but can't exactly find them.

from JeanR

JeanR's card

from Leslie

from Jolene

from GraceE

Article to file (Bonus post) Deciphering addresses at the PO

This article has been posted - but when I tried to find it on the blog, I couldn't. So I am reposting it with a better label. Not that I can think of a better label. Why did I let myself create over 4,000 posts without a decent filing system? Is it too late to go back and reorganize?

this article is even better - it tells about the training to be an address decipherer
the dead letter office where they open mail to see if they can figure out where to send it.
if I had time, I would apply for a job as a decipherer. I really would.


Art - because I hardly ever post words without art.

Random art - this from Liesbet Boudens. The same words are on one of my all time favorite envelopes from the lovely RachaelT

and there is a cool picture of Liesbet, lettering words on a wall while perched in a bathtub

I imagine you could do a fair amount of surfing through items on the New Zealand Calligraphers blog. I am resisting the temptation for the moment. Although, I know that the minute I click on [publish] for this post, I will sneak over and click a few times.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Yes or no? Sam's quilts

I will be curious if anyone likes these or if anyone is so appalled they actually take time to send me a thumbs down emoji.

Sam sent me two of the Gee's Bend quilt stamps and asked me to make an envelope using them. She probably intended for me to use both on one envelope - which I could have done. But, I was having trouble figuring out what to do.

Then I filled my really wide Copic marker and was having all kinds of fun with it. I liked the top one a lot. But, I wanted to try a version with the name larger.

Now I want to do one more version with two stamps. I did not affix the stamps to the envelopes. If Sam wants an envelope to go through the mail, she may return the stamps to me and I will do the final version. But, it will be along these lines.
If she is disappointed in the style I chose - she should just say so. I realize that this is wacky.

Warning: there will be more. I became fascinated with this method of making names. I can't call it writing. It is definitely a building process.  And -yes- I did leave the H out of Nashua. But, I thought the visual interest created when I layered it into the U was a much needed detail.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Sesame Street - from Patty - to Lauren (+2nd born)

Patty had a fun idea for the Sesame Street stamps.

Lauren's has already run, but there was no stamp. I loved the pink and yellow on the stamp with the design.

Remember the photo I posted of my grandson sitting in a box. That photo reminded Lauren of a photo of her brother - also a second kid -- and he's sitting in a box.

Also pictured is the first born with her mum. These are great. You are all welcome to send me baby photos.

Your mom is so pretty. She reminds me of one of the women who played one of Andy's girlfriends on the Andy Griffith  Show. (And not Miss Crump!)

It's so nice that we can find anything and everything on the google.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

NEON to CaroleV and KathyS

This might be the end of the neon ideas. On the day I am writing this, I'm at the end of the stack.

Carole's was the last one I did and while it is not fancy or complicated - it pleases me.

Kathy's is an exact replica of one done by MarieH and I have no idea when hers will be posted. Maybe it has already run.

I loved the simplicity - and thought I would try it. If I do any more like this, I will pencil the boxes and pay more attention to the amount of space to leave for the letters inside. Or perhaps there is a way to do the letters and then draw the boxes.

I will also be more precise in the drawing of the boxes and I will drag my very lazy arm over to the right and get a fine G-Tec pen for the inner line instead of the gel pen. Seriously. What is wrong with someone who is too lazy to just reach into the bottom drawer that is 3 inches from her chair?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Adam Sandler from Leslie

Back in the day, when my kids were teenager-ish and Adam Sandler was just coming on the scene, quite a few of the other mothers said they could not stand him. I actually liked him a lot. But, I can appreciate that most of what he does is not stuff you want your kids to pick up. My kids assured me that they were not going to pattern themselves after him and for the most part they have not. We still enjoy using some of the lines we remember from his movies.

But, Leslie had no idea what a big Adam Sandler fan I am. So, this envelope warranted an email thank you the minute it arrived.

Side note to people who need to find stuff to listen to to distract themselves from the tedious amount of exercise that they need to do. I listen to audiobooks that I can check out from the library. I'm not a big fan of David Spade, but, because I do not have to buy the books, I can check out ones that I think I will not have any interest in -- and sometimes I am surprised. I'm learning that I frequently enjoy books by performers because there are so many parallels between performing and art-art. I think the word for art-art is applied arts. Does anyone have a better word?

David Spade's story about how long it took him to learn the ropes on SNL as compared to people like Chris Farley and Adam Sandler who had an easier path was very interesting. It points out that different paths can lead people to similar places and you should get comfortable on your own path. Don't be discouraged that someone else is on a path that may seem easier. Down the road - the easier path might have some seriously rough patches.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

NEON green to Janet and Susan

Susan's should remind you of a few that you have already seen. I did not do any pencils layouts and I was doing a terrible job of creating a bunch of spaces to color in. There are actually a couple more spaces that I could color in on Susan's, but I was afraid it wasn't going to look better than it did at this point. I also added the serifs to the h - after I took this picture.

I kept thinking back to Janet's first one and recalling that I needed to do a better one for her. So, I just went all loose and random and scribbled in - and - voila - I like it.

I don't think I can just sit down and do something really loose at the beginning. I think I have to do things that are a little more structured before I go wild.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Space Theme from Maggie

Maggie must have a nice stash of vintage stamps. Her choice of the orange was smart as it gave her the orange-blue option for the address. Do we all know why orange and blue work well together? Yes, because they are opposite each other on the color wheel. Of course, you can usually find a compelling reason for why any two colors can go together.

Can anyone name two colors that never work together?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Bonus Post - twinkle-lope

Lots of fun mail has been arriving from the October exchange. Most of it will be posted next year. This one from Sam *twinkles* and other than being black - it does not scream *halloween.* So, I thought it would be fun to share it sooner than Sept of 2020.

I can't figure out what kind of punch she has that she could reach so far into the envelope. She is very good at leaving comments, so maybe she will tell us what she used.

Regular daily post is right below.

Bonus Post - What does this say?

Regular daily post is below.

Can anyone tell me what this says - or the parts I am missing?

Here is a link if you would like to see the whole book.


All that thine hand findeth to do
do it quietly for there is neither
Art Invention Knowledge
nor wisdom in Grave?
whither ?

And then - tell me what it means please.
And thank you.

Chuck Saves the Day - to Leslie

Shout out to Chuck who had also sent me an image of his envelope idea for one of the exchanges.

As mentioned previously, Chuck works on his envelopes ahead of time and then when he gets the list all he has to do is fill in the names. I always think about doing that - but then I do not get around to it.

He draws a lot of mushrooms. I have been pondering the idea of assigning a mushroom theme to his list on the next exchange. It would be optional...

Maybe mesmerizing circles. That might be fun. He does quite a few of those, too.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Guest Artist Carol DuBosch - Jubilee variation

While this is not an envelope, it would certainly be a variation of Carol DuBosch's Jubilee script that would look very nice on an envelope. I plan on doing some and they should pop up in the fairly near future.

If you are not familiar with this style of writing, you can Google it and/or do a search for jubilee on this blog.

Or -- here is a link to Carol's website.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Bonus Post - Chuck's Pumpkins

I might have said something in a post about how Chuck gets all his exchange envelopes done ahead of time. He kindly sent me this photo of his October envelopes.

I am writing this on Oct 5th - and I see there are 6 - so he might be sending one to me.

Chuck is going to make the honor roll this year. He sends extras. Sam and Leslie are also on the honor roll because they have been sending me some images for the blog so I don't get so stressed about having enough ideas to fill the blog.

The BigHelpfulBrother suggested that I could go to a 5-blogs per week - and skip the weekends. I told him that would not work. It's all or nothing.

If there are others who do additional mailings -- feel free to send me photos for the blog. I'll block out the addresses. It's entirely possible that I will create a formal honor roll. At the very least - there will be more discussion about the willingness or reticence to post your artwork in public.

Regular daily post is right below.

NEON hot pink to Maggie and Lynne

This style is another one that I use a lot. Maybe I overuse it. But, it makes me happy.

I experimented with a few different ways to outline and drop shadow. Plus, I tried some other stamps. Maybe there were no good dragon options. I do not recall. Even though, it's been less than 24 hours between the time I put the stamps on and the time that I am writing this (Sept 10)

I'm in the mad dash to finish all the posts for the whole year --- I thought I had - but discovered a whole bunch of unfilled dates.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Sam Saves the Day - to France

I've seen a few envelopes from Sam where she does repeated images and creates an overall pattern. They look really simple, but there are many decisions going into an envelope such as this.

Deciding whether to go off the edge is one. Then deciding whether to go off all 4 edges or just 2 or 3.

I like the little bit of white space down in the lower right corner. It keeps the design from looking like wallpaper. Not that wallpaper is a bad thing - I just like that bit of space.

And then there is the placement. You want to draw the eye in and then invite it to wander around the page. Sooooo pretty.

Thank you for these 8 examples Sam. I hope it inspires more people to send me images of the work they send off to others. It really helps when I find myself in a pinch for posts.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Off Topic Bonus Post - wave patterns

3 books of wave patterns

Mori, Yuzan

Lots of pretty patterns. is like going down a rabbit hole, except that it's more like an opium den for some of us

NEON nordic to Sam and GraceE

The name of this font is Nordic something. I'll try to find it. Nordic Tale. You can get it for free from

I did not follow it exactly on Grace's and was not pleased with my version so I followed it more closely on Sam's and think it looks better.

I need a bolder black marker.

I need the markers in the link below. They are almost like the old Dotta-riffic markers that have been discontinued. They have a spongy tip. Click on the detail photos to see how you can make dots in all different sizes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sam Saves the Day - to Brazil

Another nicely designed envelope from Sam. Her stroke of genius this time was to take the itty-bitty stars and make them BIG.

This is a design principle that everyone should have in their tool box. It is so easy and nearly foolproof. The only trick is to choose the right itty-bitty things.

Her second stroke of genius was thinking up something that was not on the stamp. Those big bold stripes might have been inspired by something that I can't quite see on the stamp. Or they might have been out of her head. There are some tiny details on the clothing on the people on the stamp. But I do not see anything that is literally just like those curvy stripes.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Bonus Post - History of Lettering Styles

An image that pops up all the time. If someone can tell me the source,
I will be happy to add it here.
Today's regular post is right below.
This bonus post is for the calligraphers on the list or anyone who has an interest in the evolution of all the different styles of writing.

There are some good books, like the History of Writing, which I have read. There is so much information, it's hard for me to remember everything. This article is a very good synopsis.

I have not had time to delve into the whole site and see if there are other topics worth looking at. I'll leave that up to you. I'm trying to think of a label - so that I never lose this link. It's really good. If I ever surf through my own blog, I always find stuff I posted that is wonderful - but I have completely forgotten. I'll try the label: Stuff I Wish I Could Remember

I see that I have a label: History -- which is appropriate.

NEON to Lauren and Leslie

I'm thinking that the Woodstock stamps would be nice on Lauren's.

The dragon stamps turned out to be fabulous on the neon envelopes.

These two are early in the series. I tried several different styles and it took a while to find what I liked. I made the mistake that I make over and over - addressing without even thinking about the stamps. I guess I knew that the Celebrate stamps would work if I could not find anything else.

It was delightful to discover that the dragons looked so good. I do not think I had been having any luck with the dragon stamps, even though I am wildly crazy about the design and colors.

On Leslie's, I would have liked to have a bold pale blue for some spirals.

It would have been helpful to the PO if I had put the actual Urbandale, Iowa zip code on Leslie's. That's a NH zip - and the PO was able to figure it out and deliver it to Leslie.

I'm totally slipping.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sam Saves the Day - to Rudd Janssen

I am leaving the entire address on here because Rudd is the founder of the International Union of Mail Artists. Many years ago, when I first got into mail art, I wrote to him and received my membership and participated in various exchanges. I kept all the mail for quite a while and then - one day - I dumped the entire file. Sometimes I regret doing that - but then I remember -- my kids are not into this at all - and they will just dump it when I fall off my perch. So, it's fine. I can't save everything.

This design is sooooo perfect with that stamp. I might do the exact same thing one of these days. Maybe when I am snowbound which might happen.

Back to Rudd.
Here is a link if you want to know more.

It is a good place to find additional options for exchanging mail.

Real time P.S.
New stamps from the USPS

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Aug - from Janet and Marie

Janet did a nice contemporary twist on versals.

Marie boxed the letters in my name and used the froggy stamps.

If you love origami - here is a really cool video (18 minutes)

origami video

If you love mail and references to mail in videos, here is a cute video that peeks into the future. (under 3 minutes)

cute video on Vimeo

Friday, October 11, 2019

Sam Saves the Day - PTEX to Phillip

This one looks like colored pencil rather than watercolor. Once again, just grabbing a tiny little bit of the stamp - or, I guess it is 20%. That's probably more than a tiny little bit.

But, it works beautifully.

I see two peaks where she did not put the mid-line. I wonder if that was on purpose.


Additional info - added on Oct 10
Big celebration here today as I have finished all the posts for the entire year.

**** warning -- the rest of the post is just drivel.

I was going to do a bonus post - but did not have a new envelope to share. I just looked at my USPS Informed Delivery and saw this envelope. I have not heard Mr Wilson talking about Dusty Rhodes. I wonder who he is. I wonder if Mr. Wilson has some secret life going on. There is nothing even vaguely country or western about Mr. Wilson. Also -- what's with the 50-cents on the postal meter? Shouldn't it be 55-cents.
And why are there two more digits to the plus-four on the code on the bottom? When did they make it plus-six? Does anyone know?
Maybe businesses get a different rate on postal meters?

As I wrote that first pp - I realized that I do know who Dusty Rhodes is. He's the guy who helped Mr. Wilson pick out his new vehicle. Mr. Wilson bought a pick-up truck. I guess he is going country. I'm drawing the line at ----  well, I probably shouldn't draw any lines. I'm actually on board with the truck. Any of my local readers are welcome to contact me if they have hauling to do. I'd be more than happy to send Mr. Wilson on some missions. He loves to feel useful.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

NEON to CathyO and Janet (Sept)

There will be a long off topic story at the end.

I did Janet's first and did not plan ahead so the AUD at the end had to switch to a different size marker. I ended up doing a second one for Janet that will appear later - that I am happy to report turned out very well.

Cathy's is another one of my old standbys. The letter C is one that usually intimidates me. I'd like to think I could get over it - but somehow I tend to choke on C's and L's.

There will be some better neon ideas showing up down the line. My method for filling the dates with blog posts was so simple - and yet, I managed to botch it up on multiple levels. C'est la vie.

Long off topic story.

I do all the birthday invitation addressing for a friend of my daughter's who has 3 kids. This year, she sent the invitations for one of them and the theme of the party was glow in the dark - which is similar to neon. I knew the neon *celebrate* stamps would be perfect and pondered black envelopes. I went on a scouting mission for neon paint pens and was shocked to find very few. Sadly - our only art supply store closed and I am stuck with only Michael's and Hobby Lobby for art supplies.

I bought a set of neon gel pens, figuring they would be fun to have even if I did not use them on this job. Then I stupidly pulled out my stack of neon paper that is available eVeRyWhEre - (Astrobright) - and did some samples - folding the paper into envelopes...thinking that we could buy the envelopes. She loved the neon envelopes and then when I went to buy them all I could find were cartons of 1,000. Or you could buy a box of 250 for the same price as a carton. And it was not a mixed box - it would be all one color. I was looking online - which technically has everything there is to be had.

Rats. I figured we would have to go back to black envelopes and address with the neon pens. Then at the same time, I had another gold ink wedding envelope job show up. I spaced off ordering the gold gel pens I prefer and recalled that I had purchased them in Jan - off the rack at my local Office Max/Depot. When I arrived - nope. They did not have them and I will refrain from relating the highly annoying part where a clerk tried to tell me that they had not carried them in two years (when I just told him that I had purchased some at that very store in January of 2019)
He was trying to be helpful and told me to *try Walmart.*

I have a huge thing against Walmart that I will not get into and I only set foot in that store when it is a legitimate emergency. And - no they did not have gold gel pens and no - they did not have any good neon options, now that I was back to black envelopes on the other job. Turning to trudge out, feeling queasy - as there are a finite number of options for pens and markers in DSM. Here is where we need that glorious heavenly musical fanfare in the background. A full symphony. Angels sprinkling me with magical dust. Neon envelopes on a low shelf that I just happened to glance at out of the corner of my eye.

More music. More angels. Clouds. Donuts. World peace.
And they were A6 -- I left out the part about how I had been planning on A7 neon invitations, but A6 showed up and A6 envelopes are a lot harder to find unless you are ordering from a huge company.

And - this never happens. $5 for a box of 50. OK, they were not the best paper in the world, but they were fine for a 7 year old's birthday.

So - there I was - crazy happy in the middle of Walmart.
Jean-who-does-not-hug would have hugged someone except she is able to catch herself right before going off the deep end.
And after that I cruised on over to Michael's and found the gold pens I needed.
So, it all worked out.
Sometimes things do work out.

Note to anyone who thinks they want to address envelopes for a living:
By the time you find the supplies you need, you have reduced your dollars per hour by at least half of what you thought you were going to make. And then when you calculate the stress you went through, not knowing if you would find what you need,  you are actually in the negative zone.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sam Saves the Day - PTEX to Chuck

Another stealworthy idea for any stamp that has a water feature. And there are a ton of them.

Sam did a spectacular job with her choice of colors. I guess there are a lot of shades of blue on the stamp - so in some ways - this might have been really easy. I'm a big fan of monochromatic themes.

I'm a big fan of the way her partial waves stop in the middle. That is the unexpected way to go. Expected would have been to end with a full crescent. Either would have been fine -- but I do think the unexpected is a bit more eye catching.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

From Lauren - Ogden Nash

From Lauren.

Lauren has probably deduced from my blog that I am a big fan of Ogden Nash. As a second child, this poem has always resonated with me.

When my daughter had her first child, I was there for the first birthday and we went overboard making gorgeous props and getting fabulous photos and video in a lovely high rise apartment overlooking Long Island sound. It was spectacular. By the time her second child was approaching his first birthday, they were living in a generic house in Chicago, which is a town that has alleys. I was not going to be able to be there for his birthday and I begged her to get some Hostess cupcakes and just sit him in a brown box in the alley next to the dumpsters. She knew how important it was for me to have this photo and actually made it happen. Ben will be turning 4 in December and he recently said, "I don't want my birthday party in the alley. Can we have it in the garage?" I started thinking of all the fun boy-themed parties that could be held in a garage. My daughter is having none of it.