Saturday, February 29, 2020

Bonus post - marker flowers like those brush flowers

Killing time - although, it is a tutorial - so it's worthwhile use of time if you have ZIG calligraphy markers and like the look of those brush flowers but do not want to invest in brushes, etc.

There is no commentary so I will add what I think is useful information. She shows how you can take a darker color and touch the dark nib to the corners of the lighter color nib and transfer some ink. You hold the nibs together for about 15 seconds. This makes your strokes variegated. It lasts for a while (probably long enough to make those two flowers) and eventually the light color returns to the original color. She shows using the corner for fine lines, which will ruin your nib if you press very hard. You need to drag it very lightly. The little leaves are done by placing the nib on the paper and then as you make a small apostrophe shaped mark, you twist the nib, lifting one end off the paper - and then list the entire nib off the the page. A flicking motion. Practice a few times.

Most important thing to notice -- do not worry about flowers and leaves being connected. Some are. Some aren't. When you are light and wispy - you get a fresher look than if you carefully attach everything.

Then, you can wind your way around to the main site @kuretakejapan and probably find a gazillion other things. There is a link to their website.

Regular daily post below.

Off-topic Sunday (on Saturday) - Handmade books and mending

I think all the Sunday posts in Feb are off-topic - or reposts from my surfing. So, we'll see how long I keep this up. Maybe my decision to ditch all forms of organization and embrace chaos has given me structure. I have to run the exchange sign up on Sunday - so this is my weekly off-topic, a day early.

Many calligraphers dovetail their writing with the making of handmade books.
These knocked my socks off. Not that they are anything out of the ordinary for handmade books, but that she has 21 years of them. Part of me wished I had kept a slightly better record of my years. Part of me thinks it was probably better that I didn't.

She is not a calligrapher - more paper arts and needle arts.
But, if you like abstract design, you might like a quick surf through her website.  if you want to surf through the blog.

She does a lot of mending and I feel myself being drawn to the trendy mending. Not sure I will get there, but it would certainly be easier than shopping. I just don't want to look like a looney-toon in clothes with goofy patches. Are any of you hopping on the mending-wagon?

Friday, February 28, 2020

PO returned this one - to Chuck

If I had time to look back, I think I could find some other envelopes with this cancellation design. This one was in my stack of oddities, and I liked it with the red and brown wreath. That was not an easy stamp. I eventually found some colors I liked. Walnut ink looked nice.

I wonder if the wreaths will be available in Nov of 2020.

Anyhow, I will add a PO story here.

This comes from my son who started working for the PO in October of last year. He's had all kinds of interesting stories about how things work and he said, "They tell us to NOT look at the names. We are supposed to look at the numbers. The address and the zip code."

So there. Now we know. I always suspected that the names were of no interest to them.

He has delivered to a retirement community with a memory care unit. He has some pretty funny stories, but I will not share them because it might make me sound like I am making fun of the elderly and I am quickly becoming one of them.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

From Glen to Leslie

Another one from Leslie's file. This one is from Glen Epstein who taught calligraphy at the University of Iowa. I had the pleasure of meeting Glen several times before he headed off to the scriptorium in the sky. He was masterful with the ruling pen.

There are probably some more examples of his work on the blog. As I write this, I am still working on the Dec 25 cinnamon rolls and have to focus. They are in the oven.

I can't take the pressure. This might be the year that I tell the peeps that this is Jean's swan song. I can still bake pies. Why can't we have nine pies for Xmas brunch?

The reason I dove off into my baking anxiety was to explain why I did not have multi-focus skills to allow me to research other Glen Epstein art that might be on the blog.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Leslie's happy summer to Wendy

It looks like we are having Leslie week. It's another summer themed envelope. I enjoyed studying the details and am wondering if this is a printed paper pattern or if she drew all the little items. It is cuter than heck. One curious thing -- the word *corn* is mirror image.

Wendy is a spectacular name for ruling writer script. The double swoosh on the y is a very nice addition.

And below -- see the coordinating card. This idea could be tailored to any month.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

From Virginia to Leslie - Vintage 1993

This envelope brings up happy memories for me even though it is one from Leslie's personal stash.

Side comment: Leslie used to live on Maryland Pike - it is not her current address which is why she said it was OK to not block it out. Maryland Pike is not too far from where I live. I always thought Pike was an interesting name for a street in the middle of Des Moines. I wonder if there are many pikes in other cities and towns. To me a pike is short for turnpike.

The return address - from Virginia - brings back memories of my earliest days of envelope exchanging. There was a group online called CyberScribes. They are still online, but not nearly as active as they once were.

My first exchanges would have been in the later 90s. I have several gorgeous envelopes from Virginia, who has gone to that great scriptorium in the sky. Several years ago, I was going to visit Virginia and Wilma Hardenberg, another very talented calligrapher. They both lived in Missoula and I was on a trip visiting relatives in Billings and Lewistown. Sadly, the winter came early to Montana and it was not safe to drive through the mountains, so I headed home. Note to people who plan to visit Montana: the natives warned me that winter can hit any time after Labor Day and any time before Memorial Day. And I believe they have even had blizzards on those two weekends - up in the mountains.

I'm looking forward to getting out some nibs and ink - one of these days - and do a search for flourishing so that this one pops up.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Ellsworth Kelly from Leslie to Janet

Another sunshine inspired envelope that Leslie kindly sent to help me fill the blog in case my slump continues. Technically it is not a slump - it's more of a re-focusing. I'm pretty sure I'll be full of fun ideas once I get to a certain point.

It looks like ruling writer - one of Leslie's go-to tools. It's one of my favorites, too.

That's vague.

I am writing this On Dec 25, 2019. Waiting for the cinnamon roll dough to rise. I used to be a whiz at cinnamon rolls - but now I only make them once a year and I get anxiety about the whole process.

The thought that I will appear with substandard rolls and have people noting that *Jean is slipping* alarms me. The dough is not relaxing. Apparently it has anxiety, too. I'll let it sit for 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

HB to Mr Wilson from KateR

There was no post this morning
and when i tried to reschedule it - it disappeared

i hope this one shows up

This one took two weeks to arrive. There was a barcode on the back that had been scribbled out. I'm wondering if the 420 looked like 120. We'll never know. We are not happy with the ball point scribble on the stamps. Not happy at all.

We will be stealing that cupcake.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

To Anthea in Dec - frog stamp

On Dec 6th, I had a bonus post explaining to the exchangers why I would have some boring envelopes in Dec. Below is the one I posted. Somehow, I managed to add some details that were quite nice. I did not save every single envelope - but I did not have to throw any of them out.

I had run out of holiday stamps and pondered going red and green with the frogs, but decided to just ditch the whole holiday theme. Not on all of them.

Below is the envelope that I posted when I was warning exchangers to lower their expectations for my Dec mailing.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Woodstock stamps for Greg, Bryan and Natalie

Greg and Bryan were the two people who ran the training when Hunter started at the PO. He really enjoyed them and I figured I should send a thank you. Of course, I did not have time to write a thank you so I just gave the envelopes to Natalie and had her deliver them.

I tried a couple different styles.
Not sure if I favor one over the other. It all depends on the names and words. And time. If I had a couple hours or five hours, they would be fantastic.

I guess Natalie's is a little prettier because the variation in the length of the lines is nice. Greg's is a little too much of a chunk. Or maybe that's OK.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Additions to the PO display (7 envelopes)

These might be reruns. There were some new people working at the main PO so I updated the display. Also, at the end are two more for Natalie and one of her co-workers. I pulled out real nibs and ink.

I'm sooooo out of practice.

It is Dec 24th, as I write this. My present to myself is to take the whole day (minus cooking one meal for two people) and devote it to clearing out folders of mail on my desktop. I'm tempted to get out nibs and ink, but I just know that getting the folders of mail scheduled on the blog will be a better present.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sports themes for Natalie's peeps

When I offered to do envelopes for Natalie, I reminded her to give me clues about topics the people might enjoy. So we have Cubs, Cardinals and Chiefs themed envelopes.

I made some multiples, trying to come up with an idea I liked and I did not think she was going to actually mail them - so on a couple the addresses are worked into the design.

If your address is not clear and on level, landscape orientation lines, you need to add extra postage. I'm not sure what the non-conforming rate is.

I have been trying to make all addresses very clear these days.

Tried to make the Cub's C
Like the concept, the line weights are not quite right
Tried one for the couple - not that successful - needs bolder lettering
On my list to do over -- forgot to add a Cardinal. Duh.
But the lettering was an improvement over the first attempt, below.
Reject based on clunky lettering, but, will probably send it along.
Needs a Cardinal.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Serendipity - Bonus Post

Thank you to everyone who sent kind thoughts on the 10th Blogiversary yesterday. Chuck sent this link to a wonderful virtual museum.

The 17th-century trunk of letters once belonged to postmasters Simon de Brienne and Marie Germain. Who were they? And what did postmasters do?

The photo above explains what I mentioned yesterday about how - prior to stamps  - people had to pay to get their mail. I'm always happy to find that something I remembered is probably correct. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. I was crazy excited about all the other things I learned about. Wow. Just wow. 

OK, enough of my mail-nerd rambling....check it out. 

Today's regular post is right below.

4th Sunday Offtopic Mystery Scribe

sorry this was late today- i did not have the time set right

Four off-topic Sundays in a row - but the desktop is nearly cleared off, so this may be the end of the Sunday off-topics.

Once upon a time I was talking to a friend who is a very talented artist. I referred to something as *crap.*  He stopped short, and said, "Oh, my. I'm surprised to hear you use that word." I guess I would not say it in a class or probably not in front of kids.

If my posting of the word crap has offended anyone - you have my sincere apologies.

So -- what do we think of that P in CRAP?
I'm not crazy about the shape or how it comes to a point.
Anyone else want to weigh in?
I think the bowl of the P should be more harmonious with the bowl of the R.
Or maybe they intended for it to be a *crappy* bowl.
What if it was intended -- and I am the only one to get the inside joke?


CaroleV sent this link to a call for entries for an exhibit. She participated last year.

There are all kinds of other opportunities to participate in exhibits if you are interested in becoming an international mail artist.
On the left of the link - you will see a listing - by month. You have to click on each month to see the themes.

3 river stamps for Deb (PO)

When I offered to do some envelopes for Natalie to give to other people, she gave me this name and said Deb would love this stamp.

The top one is the third one I did - middle one is second and bottom one is the first one. It's obvious that I do better after I warm up a bit.

And - colored pencils are wonderful.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Happy Birthday to the Blog - 10 years

It was hard deciding what to post on the 10th anniversary of the blog. Happily, Sam sent me this image and it is perfect. It reminds us that Mail Art has been around for a long time and it will probably continue as long as we have mail service.

Shout out to Hunter, my personal mailman. He turns 32 today. I'd love to bake him a special treat, but all he ever wants is chocolate chip cookies. (real time report - he said the latest batch are the best ever - and I left half the dough in the fridge so that he could have them fresh each day for three days)

Thanks to all my loyal blog readers and exchangers for sticking with me. It would be easy to lapse into a lengthy mushy thank you to all the really nice readers and exchangers who send pretty mail and heartwarming emails. All y'all are the best.

This is what Sam had to say about these images:

posted on IUOMA for those who thought ray johnson's 1970's school of correspondence art was the beginnings of mail art (oy)

I've seen a bunch of MA from the early -mid 20th century , but not 2 many from the 19th...
i thought you'd like the use of the stamp on this one....

& the other...from 1841 but appears two have not needed or had any postage at all

Jean's comments:
There was a time when the person who received the mail paid the postage. If you did not pay -- you did not get your mail. IUOMA is the International Union of Mail Art (or Artists?) You may Google them and find all kinds of stuff. They are less focused on penmanship and lettering. Perhaps the word *oblivious* is the best way to describe the penmanship of IUOMA people. I wonder what they think of *us.* I will be the first to admit that I am oblivious to all kinds of things that other people value. Happy Difference Day.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Mystery Scribe No. 2

This time, I do not think I will figure out whose work this it. It is still Dec 20th and I am clearing off all the random images on my desktop.

We heart Chuck - see comment - he says it is Raymond F. DaBoll

I am putting them on Sundays. I have not announced that Sundays will have all kinds of off-topic posts because it might not happen for any length of time. I might do a few and then do something else.

While I did not resolve to stop mentioning my lack of order, I have embraced the concept of letting the blog continue in my random stream of consciousness --

and so it goes.

This may not be an envelope, but it's cool and some portion of it might inspire something on an envelope. Those.Caps.Are.Dreamy.

And if anyone knows which IG account this came from, please let me know.

Here is something for the non-calligraphers:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Last call for Viola + note to exchangers

This is the last call for Happy 100th Birthday for Viola. If you do not mail today, just cross it off your to-do list. I will be out of town and it will be too challenging for Mr Wilson to handle mail that arrives while I am gone.  Many gorgeous envelopes have already arrived and Viola will be thrilled.

Of course, if you have an idea and you really want to send a late card, that's fine. I'm sure she will enjoy mail that comes after her birthday.

Note to exchangers:

And-----  as usual, I had all kinds of crazy stuff come up that interfered with my grand plans for mailing out gorgeous valentine-themed envelopes. I wanted to use Bleedproof White on red envelopes and then snow was predicted and Bleedproof White is bleedproof - but not waterproof. So, I was concerned about the addresses washing off. Instead of my own return address on the back, I put the address of the recipient - in waterproof ink. A couple of these envelopes went to first time exchangers and I figured they would wonder what was going on. Of course, I could have put this explanation inside the envelope, but that would have taken time - and I needed to get them in the mail on Wednesday. Even Wednesday was a little later than I had hoped for.

The envelope to Viola is from Leslie, who lives here in Des Moines. Both Leslie and I have had trouble with our local mail being delivered to our return addresses. Leslie has started writing my address on the back instead of her own - a logical solution. I might even remember to do it myself.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Bonus Post - Louie's Valentine

Google Louie Lemoine - or do a search on Pinterest or IG to find more work by the marvelous Mr. Lemoine. (Rhymes with Des Moines) I see this is from 2004. He has a website. I wonder if he does a valentine every year?

Today's regular post is right below.

Bold Woodstock - Lovie and Natalie

I did Natalie's first and it's awful. The black background is horrific. Then I did Lovie's and it's better. Finally, I bit the bullet and did another one for Natalie -- correction -- I started another one for Natalie. It's been on my desk for a couple months and it's hard to tell when I will find time to color it in beautifully.

Once again, I wish I had 5 hours per envelope.

The white space that is leftover on Lovie's is nice. The white space on Natalie's is sooooo clunky.

Plus the stripes on Natalie's are distracting. I did not think I would like the plaid on Lovie's but I'm OK with it.

It is really hard for me to post the one to Natalie. That black background offends me on so many levels. But -- let's be clear about something. It is only offensive when it is paired with that stamp. There might be a different stamp that would look great.

Sometimes, when I am appalled by something I have done, readers will leave a comment telling me that I am *too hard on myself.* Then we have to get into a whole debate about who and when the artist gets to declare the artwork a complete and utter failure.

Hopefully, I've made this point in a way that makes sense. My to-do list is beckoning.
Happy Valentine's Day.

And -- at some point - Natalie's much-better-version will appear.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

PO people - Lovie & Deb - Eclipse stamps

All y'all know how much I love my giant 1-inch Copic marker. It's fun when it is fully loaded, but just as much fun when it is drying.

For the next few days, I will run all the envelopes I did for my friends at the post office. Previously, I only had one official PO friend, Natalie. We met over 20 years ago when she worked as a clerk at the counter. She is now the head of customer relations.

When Hunter, my son, applied to the PO, I did not contact Natalie or do any helicopter parenting....until.....the process turned into a very confusing situation which would be too long and boring to relate. But, I finally contacted Natalie and we did some updating to the displays that I had put up earlier in the year.

Lovie is the manager at the main post office. I thought the critter was perfect - but I am not ready to let it go. The original idea was to use the eclipse stamp.

I've not met Deb -- she works with Natalie at the *inner sanctum* building. I guess you could call it headquarters? Or *corporate*? I dunno. The PO has their own lingo and 99% of the time it is alphabetical abbreviations. At least half of what I hear my son say is ABCs - and I have no idea what he is talking about.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Last of the possible re runs from the July 2019 exchange

I liked the top one to Susan. The rest are not as successful.

In fact, I am not even running a couple that are so blah I can't bear to look at them. Hopefully I fixed them before I mailed then.

Patty's is subtle.

While the stamps were wonderful, my ideas were ho-hum.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

More from July that might be re-runs.

Even though I asked for people to let me know if they received those birthday candles that ran yesterday, I am going to post some more from the July exchange that I can't find on the blog.

I'm getting so close to the big 10 year anniversary of the blog. Embrace the chaos. Embrace the chaos.

I love Cathy's. I love Lauren's first one and Rachael's and Susan's - even though I did not have enough of the Ellsworth Kelly stamps which would have been so much better.

The second one to Lauren is a dud. But, I love-love-love my giant Copic marker.

There was a bonus post - yesterday at 10 am CST -- so if you are an early bird, you might want to scroll down and see it.

A time killer - if you like stamp-stuff --  Faux-stamps - I like the one in Santa Fe.