Friday, July 31, 2020

State fair stamp to JeanR and GraceE

I like the way the stamp is tucked in and do not recall ever doing that before.
I think I said -yesterday- that I did not have a nice sage green marker. I did have this one, but it was too dry for the style I wanted to do.

Here is another one.
I really like doing these styles - but feel like it's all I do anymore.
I wish the Edmands was smaller.
And I would overlap the border around the stamp a little differently if I had it to do over.
Thank you, Janet, for the idea to outline the stamp. I wish I had thought to do it earlier because I think it really helps to put a mat around a stamp that does not have a border.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

To RachaelT and CathyO in May

The Rachel lettering does not go with the stamp - but I have been using up all the orphans. The Rachael lettering had been done a while back and was in a stack - and there were only a few state fair stamps left. I liked them - but struggled with ideas. 

The design on Cathy's might have been one that originated with her. I think I used it on the Ray Charles stamp. But, I'm pretty sure she started it --- I did not have a good sage green marker and thought the blue would be fine with the denim pants - 

not the best - not the worst - reducing the hoard.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Denim from Leslie

My head is still exploding as I learn the new system for scheduling the blogs. Some of the changes are actually good. They really seem to be pushing the old click and drag option. OK. I'll try to embrace clicking and dragging.

Leslie often has funny notes inside her envelopes discussing the things that did not come out the way she would have liked. But she gets a big A++ and a PhD in attitude - because she just points out what displeases her, but she goes ahead and mails it knowing that it will give me a much needed perk-up  and I will put it online where billions of people have the option of looking at it.

She said she thought of me the minute she saw the denim (jean) fabric. And that reminded me of my two favorite characters in the Trolls movies, the conjoined twins, Satin and Chenille. I think there was a nurse named Velvet when my dad was in the hospital. Does BigHelpfulBrother remember? Are there any other fabrics that make good names. Khaki. BigHelpfulBrother's sister-in-law's name is Kakie - pronounced khaki. Well, now I have to find a list of fabrics and see if there are other good fabric names.

canvas, cashmere, chenille, chiffon, cotton, crepe, 
lots of C-words
damask, georgette, gingham, jersey, lace, leather, linen,
merino wool, modal, muslin, organza, satin, silk, spandex, suede,
taffeta, toile, tweed twill, velvet, viscos

I guess khaki is not a fabric, it's a color.
If I had to be a fabric, I think Jean is the best one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Exploding head and Leslie's Bicycles

Little by little Blogger has redesigned how the blog works.
It is b-e-e-e-yond challenging to learn how it works - hence the reference in the title to my head exploding 
But, I am not complaining. 
This is good exercise for my little old brain.
Leslie was so sweet to send me some mail in early May. 
It was not even exchange mail. Just happy mail. 
We also emailed about the local stamp store - and depending on the pandemic situation, 
we might have a meet up at the shop.
I am writing this on May 6th. 
When July rolls around and we are reflecting on May, what will we be thinking?

Leslie made the envelope out of wrapping paper.
It is cool that she had a black marker that is the same width as the bicycle wheel.


It is Sunday - July 26th.
Things are not looking good in Iowa.
I am going to stay hunkered down for a while longer.
It took months before anyone I knew tested positive.
There was Viola, who caught it in a nursing home and has since recovered.
Recently, some complacent people I know have tested positive.
Church goers and customers at bars.
It seems like people are thinking, 
"Well, I don't know anyone who's tested positive 
so maybe it's not all that dangerous out there.

Or -- maybe it is.

Monday, July 27, 2020

A bunch of my ruling writer

Lynne mentioned an interest in learning how to use her ruling pen so I pulled mine out and did some envelopes. I had forgotten how much fun the ruling pens are. I posted a very primitive video on how to use one. You may find it in the video section of the blog. There is a tab somewhere.

Those stamps are dreamy with the walnut ink.

These are only a few of the styles you can do with a ruling pen.
They are one of the most versatile tools.

Kate is also interested in learning to use a ruling pen.
Hopefully we'll see some examples from Lynne and Kate in the future.

Leslie uses the ruling pen a lot. Actually, this is done with a folded pen which is different.

The new Blogger format has me in a corner here.
I'll just end this and maybe explain in a different post.

Obviously the Carolyn and Susan were not done with either a folded pen or ruling pen.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Ruling pen preview

Tomorrow there will be a batch of envelopes done with a folded pen and walnut ink.
The title might say ruling writer. The copy will say ruling pen - and then at the very end, I will correct myself and explain that I used a folded pen.

In theory, I could do several posts about the three different pens - but that would only be the tip of the iceberg -- and that would require me to be functioning at a higher level than my current level which is not low - it's actually fine - my *teaching* hat is on a sabbatical.

When I had my walnut ink out, I also pulled out a scroll tip nib. They are so cool. 
On some of them I colored in the space between the two strokes - on this one, I used colored pencil.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Happy New Year from Alison (streaky mess to Leslie)

I am pretty sure this is from Alison.

I am adding another envelope because today is one of those marathon days
and I don't always think of worthwhile things to say during pre-schedule marathons.

While this may seem like a hot mess, in person, it was looking pretty good until the final dark purple zigzag. Then, I just stopped and put a consolation envelope inside this one.
I also put a very clear address to Leslie on the back and a note indicating that the stamp was on the other side. The envelope had been addressed in walnut ink - and I covered up the original address (to someone else) with the giant copic marker. Then I added some other colors - and it was looking great. But I could still see the original writing. That's when I junked it up with the zigzag.
I was curious what white gel pen would look like. It dissolved the base color a bit.
The only reason I did not toss it was because it is my all time favorite paper.
I don't even remember what brand it is - it might be the Luxe Paper Source.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Happy Anniversary to the BHB's Beard

Leslie kindly sent this to BigHelpfulBrother when he was observing the 26,000th day that he has been alive. Today is another big day for the BHB.
Today is the day that he celebrates the anniversary of his current beard. He retired from shaving on July 24th, but I forgot the year. I am going to guess 1977 - but I could be off by a year or two. I wonder if he is surprised that I remembered? We have a running joke about how overly organized he is and how under-ly organized I am. He will leave a comment -with the correct year, if I am wrong.
July 24th was the day he was discharged from the Air Force. 
I don't think any of them exist any more, but, I think I sent some slightly decorated envelopes to him when he was at the Air Force Academy. I know there were also some hand made cards. We have both been doing our Swedish Death Cleaning and I only have one huge regret about getting rid of stuff.
I wish I had taken pictures of the stuff I tossed and put them in a folder titled:
Stuff that is gone for good.
It is so frustrating to recall seeing something recently and having no idea whether it's been tossed.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

August Exchange Idea

As you may recall, Chuck usually has his exchange envelopes done ahead of time. He creates designs and then fills in the names when he gets the list on the 5th of the month. A few days ago, he sent this photo of his idea for the August exchange and I love it. It inspired me to do an optional Celebration theme for the August exchange. August is a good month to celebrate - because there really aren't any holidays. It is usually just a summer month. Or winter, depending on which hemisphere you are in.

So, Aug 5th is two weeks away. You have time to order Celebration stamps from and be ready with your fun ideas. Again -- this is entirely optional. I will not group people on the lists by whether or not you will be using Celebrate stamps. It's just an option.

If exchangers like the idea - after we see how many participate - and get some feedback, we could feature other stamps in future exchanges.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Valentine from Sam

Super stealworthy from Sam.
Notice the lettering inspiration from the stamp.
My name in script.
The rest in block lettering.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Teal with celebration stamp to CarolP and Anthea

My tried and true BIG COPIC should have worked. I knew it was dried out to the proper level - and then it was too juicy on the first name. I just let it go. Carol is a full time calligrapher. I met her many years ago when she came to DSM to teach. If I could choose one penmanship to be my own - in terms of everyday penmanship, I would choose Carol's. It has been my favorite for a long time.
Maybe I should just spend some time learning it.

Below is one that might have already run. I recall one month I accidentally did two for Anthea.
So, it was in my box of partially completed envelopes.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Janet, Nancy, Carole, Lynne - colorful celebration stamps

These three did not please me. Janet's is the least boring. That t is clunky.
I think I did Nancy's right after Chuck's - and came close to tossing it.
Then I thought, maybe script will work.
Then I thought, maybe huge script in one color will work.
When I do a series, I tend to get better. This time they were getting worse. I'll never know if I could have turned things around if I had kept going. I decided to cut my losses and go in a different direction.

I tried to stay away from off-topic conversation about ticks.
But the NYTimes has a regular column that I enjoy where they tell the story of someone with a hard-to-diagnose ailment. Not that I enjoy reading about ailments, but you never know when you might need to know something.

It was bad enough that ticks could give you Lyme disease - but now there is a variation that is worse,
My skin crawls just thinking about ticks.
OK - here is what you might want to know so that you are careful to look for ticks if you go out into the wilderness.

from the NYTimes:

Only one result was positive — the test for a distant cousin of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme. It’s called Borrelia miyamotoi, and it causes one of the newest tick-borne diseases. The first cases, in Russia, were reported in 2011. Cases were reported in the U.S. two years later. B. miyamotoi, like Lyme, is carried by the black-legged deer tick, but it’s a much easier infection to get. With Lyme, the tick has to be attached to a body for two to three days before the bug can be transmitted. That’s because B. burgdorferi lives deep in the tick’s gut. But B. miyamotoi lives in the tick’s mouth and can invade the body almost immediately.

When untreated, B. miyamotoi can cause recurrent episodes of illness because of an unusual ability to fool the immune system by changing its outer layer. Once it has eluded our disease-fighting antibodies by the equivalent of changing clothes, it can reproduce again and produce a new round of fever, headache, fatigue and body pain that characterize this as well as most other tick-borne infections.


The thing to note -- there is now the variety that can infect you almost immediately. 
That is enough for this Nanna to say No, thank you - to even the most glamorous of glamping.

And if you are concerned about one person in China dying of bubonic plague - you need to know that people get it right here in the USA -- as long as you go to a doctor who is knows how to look for it, it is easily curable. So far. Who knows, maybe it is working on some sneaky little change.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Colorful celebrations to Maggie and Chuck

I did Maggie's first and then did a variation on Chuck's where I used lower case. Maggie's might have been better if I had put more space between the letters.
I did Chuck's next and it is probably my favorite of the whole series.
The two curls add some much needed counterpoint to the clunk-a-chunk letters.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Apr PTEX to Cathy and Lauren

This style has been on previously, but probably not red on orange. It does not go very well with that stamp. I did not put myself on any of the lists in April. Some people did an extra envelope and sent it to me - and they were all really nice envelopes so I was inspired to send thank yous. The inspiration to do something after two months of not doing any envelopes did not yield any nice envelopes. Not the all time worst - but pretty blah.
I was having a heck of a time finding a white gel pen that would work. So, on Cathy's I did the address in red and then forgot to take another photograph.
It was stacked to the right.
That t in Cathy sticks out like a sore thumb.

Friday, July 17, 2020

From Cathy O to Ellen



This is pretty.
I sent Cathy some of the shimmer envelopes that drove me crazy off and on.
My new complaint is that they do not photograph very well.

I have been reading a ton of tutorials on how to get friendly with my new laptop.
One of them recommended Acorn as an alternative to PhotoShop.
It is $30 and I am totally going to get it.
I've never had PS because it is so expensive.
Acorn looks fabulous.
It might be a good way for me to fix and enhance photos.


Tomorrow we go back to posts that I wrote a while ago.
So there will be no more updates on how camp is going.
Unless there is something worth talking about.
One good thing about urban camp - you don't have to look for ticks.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

From JackieM to Ellen



Oh, this is exciting.
JackieM was a one-timer - in March.
And then she just popped up again for the July exchange.
I think she said something in her email about trying to sign up, and just remembered on the 4th of the month to sign up. Maybe the first-timers forget to sign up again. It can be hard to remember to sign up even though there are 4 days for sign up.

This is fun. It might be a resist.

Still Tuesday.
Camp stories are flooding back to my little brain.
My very earliest memory in my life is being at a camp.
My parents were campers.
I was not,
My goal in life was to grow up and never camp again.
When I hit college in the early 70s, camping was all the rage.
I did not join in.
Now, my granddaughter, Alex, really wants to go camping.
I've Googled *glamping*
There are a few I might consider.
Her dad and I are on the same page about camping.
He is not interested.
Although they do go *to the lake* which is a lot like camping - only it is in a cottage.
I guess I do recall a bit of the fun of being in a tent and hearing nature and feeling the air.

And then there was that time in a tent when one of the other girls discovered that a mama mouse had gone into her sleeping bag and hatched babies.
Screaming ensued.
That was the last time I ever slept in a tent.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

From KateR to Ellen



So much fun.
I love this one.

Yesterday I mentioned that I needed to check the spam folder for comments --
and there was one from CathyO confirming that -yes- she had taken a brush lettering class. You may scroll back to that post to see what kind of brush marker she used and who taught the class.

There were also 2 comments from Smash -- and she said -yes- a person needs to be on Chrome to leave comments. Now, I need the GooglePeeps to put the comments into my regular mailbox. I'm sure I need to click something somewhere to make that happen.

so much magic -- as we get to be virtual penpals as well as literal penpals.
if only we (I) could figure out the details.

it is still Tuesday.
the kids are still at camp
but it is quiet
should I be concerned


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

From RIta to Ellen



Where are you?
This is cool.
You only exchanged once.
Just curious.
When I mentioned one-timers to someone who has been an every-timer for several years, she responded:
"What else do people have to do these days?"
I wonder, too.
Maybe Rita will leave a comment.

Note to self:
Check that spam folder --
to make sure there are no comments waiting for the OK.

Monday, July 13, 2020

From Trish to Ellen


This is fun.
I like how she combined the stamp with two other elements.
Ellen is a *pen-person* although not a calligrapher.
She could be if she had time.
There are so many thing that mommies do not have time for.
It is wildly exciting for me to have all kinds of time to learn all the computer stuff that I wished I had been able to learn earlier. We got our first computer when the third kid was still in diapers. A kid in diapers can (and did) learn how to turn on the computer and play the simple kid-friendly video games that were available in the early 90s. My grandkids are better at figuring things out than I am.
But, I am better at finding really old movies.
Like Swiss Family Robinson and Pollyanna.
And my favorite -- Matilda.
It was one of my fondest wishes - that I get to watch Matilda with my granddaughter for her first time.
Now I am excited to watch all the other Roald Dahl movies.

I apologize if I have already yakked about this.
Or if I have yakked about it on a post that will be popping up in Aug or Sept.

Starting in 2021
there will be no more jumping around.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Testing - bonus post

This lettering caught my eye on Friday morning.
I gives me a good opportunity to practice making new posts on the laptop.
It's not that I like it that much - but it would be something I could do while in this zone of helping with the kids and not having my studio.
I've been reading articles on the pros and cons of sending kids back to school in the fall and I offered to just move in with the grandkids and be a *home-schooler.*
I am so glad that I do not have school aged kids any more.
This would be one heck of a decision.

And then I thought of the option to turn my mom-dad-flop-house into a one room school for all the kids on the block whose parents may want to keep them in a bubble. I think there are about 30 kids on this block. That is more than I can handle.

Regular daily post right below.

From RachaelT to Ellen


Rachael did a gorgeous job on this one.

It is still Tuesday and the kids are still at camp.
Ben refused to attend camp on Monday.
On Tuesday, they made him an offer that he accepted.
Nothing like signing kids up for activities and then having them refuse to go.
I just peeked out to see what they were doing.
It is 90-degrees.
Ben has the hose and is hosing off the girls.
He is the only boy at the camp.
I'm pretty sure he would have gone yesterday if someone had told him he could hose off girls.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

From JeanR to Ellen


It will be a while before I get back to my studio and my white ink.
I hope I remember to scroll back to this one because I love the lettering and it would work for any month. The shamrocks go nicely with the Woodstock stamp.

I like the way Iowa and the zip code are tucked together.

Friday, July 10, 2020

From Lauren to Ellen


Current time words.
Swimming lessons were stopped - and now they have started.
Try telling kids that they have to start swimming lessons again.
Lockdown has been hard on everyone and now kids are hesitant to resume activities.

This is a fun envelope and I like all the women-themed stamps.
Ellen's generation didn't seem as rabid about women's issues as my generation.
Although, the mommy-daddy balance is still around.
Thankfully, the daddy at this house is super helpful.

He loves my idea to open a mommy-daddy flop house in the neighborhood.
A quiet space with lots of places to relax - where parents could go (one at a time) when they needed a break. I mentioned this idea to one of the neighbors who thinks it is a brilliant idea. Maybe I should pursue it. It could have an apt for me to use when I am in town. As luck would have it - there is a house for sale on the block. Sadly -- it has fallen into disrepair and I am not interested in a fixer-upper.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

From Heather to Ellen



Writing in nearly real time.
It is Tuesday - and I have discovered that I probably did not write any of the blurbs that show Ellen's 40th Birthday mail.
Ironically, I am sitting in Ellen's house - hoping she does not see her mail on my blog if she walks by.
As far as I know, my brother is the only person related to me who follows the blog. Ellen has the two kids, so she has no time at all.
Today the kids are at Corona-Camp. That's where a counselor comes to your house and the kids do camp stuff outdoors. A few other kids from the neighborhood participate. Everyone in Chicago is very good about wearing masks. So, knock-on-wood I won't be catching anything.

This is a fun envelope idea -- you could use all kinds of shapes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

From Patty to Ellen



If you checked the blog yesterday, before I woke up, all you had to read was --Chuck--
because I had posted images of Ellen's birthday mail and intended to come back and write blurbs.
And then I didn't.
So, now I am.
I recall Patty saying something about this one - to the effect that it might not have been one of her favorites. Maybe she was not pleased with the fold through the E - but that doesn't really bother me. The s in Powers is snipped off by the stamp. So it is symmetrical in that sense.
The one change I would have made was the top left stamp could have overlapped the line.
But, it's just fine the way it is.
And Ellen and her offspring will enjoy opening the mailbox on Nov 27th.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

From Chuck to Ellen


At 5:30 this morning, I found that I had not written a blurb for this envelope -- so -- I'm happy that I have the laptop and can swiftly add some words. But, I also have to check all the rest of the posts that are coming up this week to make sure that there aren't others where I posted the image and intended to come back and write about the envelope.

Chuck has endless patience with the little lines -- and white dots add just the right amount of sparkle.

Monday, July 6, 2020

From CathyO in May

It looks like Cathy used some tiny brush markers. Cathy has also been taking some online classes so this style might be from a class.
The colors are so fresh and springy/summery.

And the card inside is very pretty.

Time out while I complain about Blogger.
It is not letting me arrange things.
So - if the layout is goofy, it's not my fault.


July 5th
The July exchange lists have been sent.
I am getting comfortable with the new laptop.
Here is something that I have not had time to listen to.
I do not even know if it is visual or just audio.
Maybe someone will listen and/or watch one and tell us about them.

The blog can become a lot more interactive now that I have a keyboard with me at all times.

The Calligraphy Podcast

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Bonus post - training wheels - answer for Leslie

Regular post is below.
This one is just drivel -- except there is an answer to Leslie's question yesterday.

I have never had my own brand new computer. I always shared the family computer or used a hand-me-down from my mom. I have never had an iPad either. My iPhone is an elderly antique and too small to do blog postings. So, I treated myself to a new laptop so that I could continue blogging when I went on trips to help with the grandkids - which is where I am currently. I had the kids in Iowa for almost two weeks before we transported ourselves back to Chicago where I will help for another 2 or 3 weeks - while the mom does taxes.

I am trying to figure out how to blog on the new (mouseless) laptop -- and mostly it is going well. However, I am using Safari  and it will not let me leave comments. People have mentioned the difficulty of leaving comments and I thought you might have to use Chrome - so now I have to try that, but I do not even know where to start. 

This post is just to see if I can actually add a post.
And to respond to Leslie -- Yes you may send birthday envelopes to Ellen Powers at my address.
Envelopes are welcome up until Nov 1st.
Thanks so much.

The photo was one of my art projects with the grandkids. They wanted to do tie dye. I've never been interested and thought we should just start with indigo. I am now very interested in doing more tie dye with indigo. If you want to see some nice examples - Google shibori. Or try Pinterest. 

From Maggie to Ellen

Another gorgeous floral design from Maggie. The assortment of vintage stamps are so pretty. At one time, I had all of those stamps. 

As I write these posts that go with the birthday envelopes, I am waiting for someone to come jump my car. It looks like I did not have one of the doors closed tight, and now that I am hunkered down, I may not drive the car for several days at a time. 

July 5th - the entire battery had gone to meet its maker.
I am just practicing editing posts on the laptop.
It's working.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

From CaroleV to Ellen

I requested the 40th birthday envelopes for my daughter in March even though her birthday is not until November. Several people went with the St. Patrick's Day theme - which is fine. Her husband, Colin, is Irish and a graduate of Notre Dame, so Irish-ness is celebrated year round. My daughter always said she wished she had been part of a larger rowdier family. Scandinavians (my side) are too reserved for her. And we have no idea what the Wilson's are. So she got her wish.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Alex's Mermaid from Janet to Ellen

I posted Alex's drawing of a mermaid on the blog and Janet used it to make a birthday envelope for Ellen (Alex's mom, my duaghter) for the big 4-0.
I know Ellen will like it and Alex will be thrilled to see her artwork again. 
The stamps are perfect with the mermaid.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

From Shirley to Ellen

First time exchanger Shirley.
I think this is three first time exchangers in a row. 
This is another nice example of an abstract design that spins off from the stamp.
It's probably watercolor.
As usual, every time I see watercolor, I want to get mine out. 
And then I don't.
Broken record - plus I am in the midst of re-doing 100 posts.
Thirty done.
I might call it a day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020