Saturday, October 31, 2020

Blue lace to Lynne - Sept

Farewell to the last of the lace stamps. I've enjoyed them. I deeply regret that I did not put them on a no. 10 size envelope (business size) Lynne's name would have stretched beautifully and the proportions of those three stamps would have been so beautiful.

I complain about Blogger. So today, I am taking a moment to thank then for one new feature. When I am writing up blog posts to pop up in the future, and am ready to put them in the queue - I click on a button that has a paper airplane and the word Publish. In the past -- it just ended up in the queue. Blogger changed it so that now you get a little confirmation form to click. One would think that I would read the confirmation and confirm that I have put in a date in the future. Most of the time I do. But today, Sept 12, I just posted those 3 birthday envelopes and did not notice that I had not plugged in a date in the future and they popped up on the blog. Luckily, I caught my mistake within a couple minutes and deleted it. 

That is all useless information. However, I did want to insert some kind words to Blogger. Blogger is a branch of Google and we know that Google is keeping copious files on us - and I want to stay on their good side. I have no secret agenda. Although typing those two words probably flags me and somebody might be reading this and wondering -- what's she up to. I assure you, I'm up to nothing except staying in touch with my penpals. I'm too old to be up to anything. Honest. I just want Blogger to remain free. 


The Saturday rant + holiday doodles

Some ideas to drape across the top of holiday envelopes so that the addressing can be friendly to the postal scanning machines. It is from -- they have oodles of cute images. I have not actually downloaded anything. I just save screenshots for ideas.

My daily rant has to do with the difficulty of figuring out what day of the week it is. I need some kind of assist. Maybe I should just write the day of the week on the back of my hand? And November starts tomorrow. How is it possible that the draggy-est year ever -- is whizzing by at warp speed?


USPS rant.

I just checked -- last year they posted the new stamp designs for 2020 on Oct 22, 2019.

Here it is -- Oct 31 -- and they have not posted the 2021 stamps



Friday, October 30, 2020

Three animals to Vivian and AmyG

More orphan envelopes matched with orphan stamps heading out the door. Many years ago I drew John Neal's name to match the caterpillars. I had been hoping I would find time to do another envelope like that, but, the time came when I had to accept that I'm not going to get everything done and getting rid of the *maybe never* stack would be freeing.

I hope Vivian appreciates that she received two of my most prized stamps. If I have time, I will go back and find the one I did for John Neal. I actually did it for an article for his magazine Bound&Lettered.

I like the little hearts with the animals. It was my last little heart stamp. Maybe I can buy more. I did have a ton of fun with them.


The Friday real-time rant (food related)

 We are back to ranting about food. I have not had a chance to drive out to Trader Joe's yet (to try the cauliflower crust that Smash recommends). But, I did make pizza - and I highly recommend this recipe, if you like Greek flavors.

Greek Pizza

Here is my rant. Why don't they sell pizza sauce in 4 oz or 6 oz containers. Spaghetti sauce is so easy to make, but there is something about the better quality pizza sauces that come in jars that I like (Rao is my current favorite). Their jars are 13 oz.  I suppose I could just divide the remaining sauce into smaller containers and freeze them. Guess there isn't much of a rant any more.

I've had this image sitting on my desktop for a few days because I loved every single thing I read about the guy. This image sums up how I feel about providing meals to people with whom I am living. I guess we can call them family. Clearly, they have not been working very hard to get on my good side. 

The Fed-Up Chef

My dream (when the kids were younger) was to open a restaurant called:
I would make a certain number of meals per night. If people wanted to eat, they could stop in and eat. But, they had to eat whatever I felt like cooking. I would put a sign in the window indicating what was being served that day.
I know that often times, when restaurants have specials on certain days of the week, people get pretty excited about their favorite specials. I figured I could cultivate a following of people who were excited about particular entrees and I'd have a devoted following.
The goal was to make enough that I could just let my kids eat out or order in for every meal because I don't think there was a single meal that pleased all three of them.
Happily, they all turned into foodies - and eat everything now. But at the time it was tedious.

I also remembered my trip to Ed Debevic's which was a very theatrical restaurant in Chicago where the servers were pretty surly - and barked at the diners in a way that was fun and entertaining for everyone.

So -- this guy has 25 rules at his restaurant. It's his way or the highway.
I was going to take a re-enactment picture of myself with my tools of the trade -- but I have not gone completely nutty.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Sept Rachael's corner to Maggie and Janet

Here are a couple more from the Rachael's-corner series. 
I was so tempted on Janet's to make most of the green, much darker to match the stamp - but then I chickened out.

I never did figure out which way to go on the taller first initial. Maybe the J is the only letter that looks right. I'd have to do 26 envelopes to figure out if there are other letters that work well. 

The way the colors worked out on Maggie's is rather nice. Has a little autumn feel to it. The illustrator stamps were so beautiful. It will be painful to not go to the vintage stamp store and buy any more vintage stamps now that I have made a vow to not buy vintage stamps. It seems like such a harmless thing. I honestly feel like a heroin addict trying to talk myself into just one more hit.


Real time rants and cute stuff

Has anyone else seen this halloween idea? It's a circle of ghosts in a ring-around-the-rosie pose.

And then there is this one - new to me - spotted by the BHB - and, yes, it was worth it to drive a few blocks out of my way to see it. The photos do not do it justice. Life size horse skeletons. The human skeletons have even crawled over onto the neighbor's house. I'll check back next year and see if they have gone further down the block.

And how cute is this?
It is called a Junk-o-lantern.

I'll save my rant for tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Lauren's Voting Themed Extravaganza

This would have been plenty to make a voting statement, but clearly, Lauren has some time to kill so she put together a lovely package . Notice that the *front* of the envelope is actually the back. I love the design on the back. Mr. Zippy looks a little bit like the Kilroy guy (which is so far before my time - that it's probably faded into oblivion)

Here is a sequence of the goodies inside.
I probably should have done a video.
I'm seriously considering some kind of tripod device to make shooting videos a little easier.

Notice the paperclip in the one photo to give you an idea of how small the little envelope is.

Quick question, Lauren. How did you get the perfect stamp-perf edge on your faux-postage?
I have a pair of *stamp-edge* scissors, but the edge is way too clunky.
Yours is perfect.
If it is a trade secret -- we'll understand.

So -- a week from now, we might have a little less anticipation anxiety. Or maybe we'll have more. I'm pretty sure I will refrain from any real-time comments. I just checked to see what's posted on Nov 4th - and it is just a random holiday envelope. Nov is full of holiday ideas. Maybe the holidays will be a good distraction. I guess I could get into some turkey dinner ranting. I have a real doozie that I've hesitated to post -- but 2020 might be the year where I can just pull out all the stops and tell some of the doozies. 

Or -- I could start a private blog -- where you only get to read my doozies -- if you submit a doozie of your own. And that way, I could post a bunch of them and they would all be anonymous. Is this a good idea or have I veered into a dangerous place? That is a rhetorical question. Feel free to send me a rhetorical answer along with an explanation of what a rhetorical answer is. 


I am going to switch the real-time extra posts to appear after the daily posts. I prefer the daily post to be on top and then anyone who is in the mood for extra chatter can just keep reading. 

Real time musing

 Thank you to you-know-who-you-are for using the word *musings* for these posts that I am adding in real time. That's a good word. 

First thing this morning, I ran across Amber Share. She noticed the funny comments that people leave on Yelp when reviewing popular tourist destinations that are wilderness parks. She made faux-vintage poster/postcard art and is selling them. The easiest way to see a bunch of them is on IG.

Amber Share

Or you can Google her name and go to her website - but it's not a quick way to see a lot of images. If you do not surf on IG - just do a Google search for Amber Share and then click [Images] and there are a lot of good ones.

This is an article that features some of the best ones:

Amber Share article

And, here is a minor rant - static electricity.
It snowed again - I had to pull out the woolens - and the combination of the furnace running + wool + fleece = static electricity. It drives me crazy. I do have a can of Static Guard - but I do not like the smell or the use of aerosols. Maybe there is some device where I can discharge all the excess electricity that is making my hair fly all over and my clothes cling in a very creepy way and the worst of all - shocks that go through my ear buds - right into my brain. Ouch. I don't think my brain is needing anything more shocking that what it is experiencing through sight and hearing.

I'm open to suggestions for how to deal with static electricity.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Tuesday Rant (Real-time)

 I can't remember what I was going to call these real-time posts. Today, I tried to add a post to the Cursive Club blog - but it ended up on this blog. So you might have seen it. If you are working on your penmanship, you may go to the Cursive Club blog and see a couple videos. I actually talk, too.

My sister-in-law held my camera and we shot quite a few. Blogger only lets me upload 30 seconds at a time. So - my free cursive lessons on my free platform are choppy. But, if you have a very short attention span, they might be perfect.

I've offered to help people with their penmanship several times. Mostly they give up. But, I seem to have a very determined person who has sent me several pictures of practice pages and it looks to me like she is getting the hang of it.

Here is the link to the videos - and a fun photo that the BigHelpfulBrother snapped on a walk in his neighborhood.

cursive club

Sept birthdays to NancyL, Troy and Haley

These three people had birthdays in September. Birthday candles are one of my go-to ideas. There are so many options. With these, I used my neon highlighters. I'm too lazy to find them and tell you what brand they are. OK, I'm not. **pause** Zazzle. Before I went and looked, I was thinking it was Zazzle, but that is also the name of the online source for custom stamps - so I didn't think they would have the same name. But they do. The highlighters are made by Zebra. They are old. I will resist the temptation to look online and see what's available in neon highlighters. I will leave the searching to you. I hear from several of you about your *too-many-art-supplies.* So, I'm not suggesting that anyone needs them. But, if you are just starting out, you might consider getting them.

I think I went heavier on the drop shadows on these - but, I'd have to look back to see - and I am staying focused on getting all the outgoing Sept envelopes posted in one sitting.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Real-time post (formerly called Bonus post) - CCC virtual exhibit.

 We've started a real-time conversation about faux foods - and I have more food related items to share. A couple people have mentioned that they appreciate a little extra jabbering during The Black Hunker. I felt the need for a way to leave the pre-scheduled posts alone and have a format for the real-time posts. 

Here's the new format:

Real-time posts will appear on top - and you may skip them and go straight to the lettering/mail art post - if you are only here for the ideas. 

For your viewing pleasure - the Chicago Calligraphy Collective has posted a virtual exhibit. I was wowed by a number of pieces and am posting one here - without permission - because I'm lazy. I hope I don't get in trouble. It is by Sherri Trial -- and I have corresponded with her through both email and snail mail. Sherri lost her entire studio, all her artwork, and all her art supplies in a fire a couple years ago. During these troubled times, it never hurts to reflect on different kinds of losses. If you put *Sherri* in the search box, her envelopes will pop up.

Sherri's piece is a jumble of 4 words - which I will leave for you to figure out. If you can't figure it out, email me. It is 3" x 3.5" -- so it is a precious size.

CCC Virtual Exhibit

Rachael's corner original and one to her

 Here is the inspiration envelope from Rachael. She included a note that said: Just so you know, I deeply regret that row of circles on the right. I hope I remember to find the note and make sure the quote is correct. The two words that I know she used are *deeply regret.*

I, too, can express deep regret on many of my envelopes. I regret that I did not use a frog stamp. I love those fern stamps and it clashes. Grrrrrr. 

On this envelope, I did not make the R larger but I do not recall why. Maybe I thought that there was not enough space on the envelope. 


I'm so excited. I found the note.

My wording was off a little bit. It is: Just so you know - I deeply regret that stack of green balls on the top right.

I sent Rachael a sneak peek of all the different variations I did. We have both noted that her envelope pops up on Pinterest all the time. I sure wish Pinterest had not deleted the gadget that counted how many times people pinned a particular image.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sunday bonus post - Fun food topic

 Envelope topic below this one.

Right after I scheduled the Saturday rant - I saw this article about seriously obsessed people tracking down Egyptian yeast. One of them is right here in Iowa (over in Iowa City)

Yeast article

It's heart warming to know that there are some people who have wildly exciting research going on. Hopefully, I can toggle between ranting and rant-free posts.

For the illustration we have a plague joke which the BigHelpful Brother will not like because he is the type of person who would have invented calculus if he had the opportunity. Maybe he will leave a comment and tell us what he did *invent*. I know what it was - but I probably can't describe it. It was in the dark ages of computers when they ran on paper tape and he invented a program that would punch the alphabet into the tape so that *they* could send *hard copy* messages. If he still has the one strip that I saved for a long time, maybe he can send us a photo.

Also -- a photo of my grandson eating lunch at his Montessori school. I sent my boys to a Montessori school and was so happy that I talked my daughter into sending her kids to Montessori. She had not gone, so she didn't really know much about the concept. Not all Montessori schools include all of the same teachings. My boys did not set tables with table cloths and arrange flowers. The kids do all the work of setting the tables and arranging flowers. Ben is sitting on the far side of the room with his little friend Daisy. They also sweep and mop the floors. I know the original Montessori classrooms had kids polishing shoes - but shoe polishing is probably archaic. To me, the photo is adorable - and happily, the school has been open since June with no incidents of covid in any of the staff or any of the families. That is encouraging.

Sept Rachael-corner to Chuck and CathyG

I did quite a few envelopes like this in September because it seemed like a good way to keep the address clear. The original idea came from RachaelT and I will show it tomorrow. I am also getting very close to using up every single orphan stamp. It has taken f.o.r.e.v.e.r to accomplish that and I am close to giddy at the thought of accomplishing it by the end of the year. It means that I might not use halloween stamps on my October exchange envelopes. 

These two were near the end of envelopes with the Rachael-corner. I do like the idea of taking design ideas that arrived in my mailbox and doing my own versions. 


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Saturday bonus post - A food rant

 Skip this if you are only interested in envelopes and lettering - and scroll down to the daily post.

Fun image that does not relate to my topic du jour.

Here is the rant:

Cauliflower tastes like cauliflower. It does not taste like chicken or rice. You cannot turn it into boneless Buffalo chicken wings. You cannot turn it into fried rice that tastes better than take out from a restaurant. Just because there are endless recipes and claims that you can make cauliflower taste like something else does not mean that any of them are true. 

As luck would have it, I like cauliflower. The faux-chicken and faux-rice food has been edible. But it does not satisfy the taste buds that were asking for chicken or rice. 

Why are there so many people who are oblivious to the cruciferous overtones? I just don't get it. 

Of course -- anyone who thinks they actually have a faux recipe that works, feel free to send it to me and I will try it. Unless it has the exact same ingredients that I have already tried.

End of rant. 

Sept to CathyO - upside down flower border

This was a wacky idea - to make the envelope look nice both ways. September was the month we started to address envelopes that would be easy for the post office scanning machines to read. I intended to have the last name between the two CATHYs - but forgot to leave space. I'm OK with how it turned out, but will not be doing it again. If I want some decoration along the top, it will be something that makes sense draped across the top. At least the frog worked out. I'm down to my last 3 frogs.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday bonus post - David Lee Roth

 Regular post is right below.

During my mommy years, I noticed that some of the stuff that kids liked was enjoyable to me, too. Other times, I really didn't like it. MTV was so helpful in giving me a glimpse of whatever was popular at the moment. I remember thinking that David Lee Roth was way too intense/outrageous for my liking and yet he had some kind of weird thing going on - where I would actually watch him. A little bit like a train wreck. So -- it was interesting to hear about and find a link to this item. His intensity is still annoying but there are quite a few things that he observes - that I agree with. That ornery side resonates. 

It's a nice little piece on the dovetailing of different kinds of art and artists - if you need some surf time.

David Lee Roth

The BigHelpfulBrother will probably ask me what I think of Dave's art.

My stock answer is that I do not like to dis art that does not please my eyes -- because nobody can make art that pleases everyone -- and I am emphatic that making bad art is better than making no art. So, while it is not exactly my cup of tea I did find one image on his IG account that doesn't bother me. The colors bother me. Maybe I should do my own version....

Blogger giving me fits in August - Sam's postcards from March

For some reason, Blogger is behaving very strangely - and if we have not learned anything else in 2020, we have definitely learned that we must accept the difficulties and just work around them. The weirdest thing is that it will not allow any paragraph space. What's with that?

[I came back on Sept 27th and it is fixed]

I just found an email from Sam in a very unexpected place. It warmed my heart to hear what she wrote on March 22. She passed away on April 20 - so it was one of the last emails from her. An exchanger had asked about doing postcards and Sam was wildly excited about doing postcards. So she made some -- and sent me inages. I guess she used them in the April exchange - or maybe not. As always, they are lovely designs. I'm not sure what was going on with me that she talks about life-saving. Perhaps it was a reference to the global pandemic. Not that I was ever fearful -- but when it hit my town, I suppose there was a resignation to the fact that it was truly going to be e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. In her email - PC means postcard. Here are her words:

PC show (& tell) 2 brighten ur day (save ur life??) i could do the herringbone on a lope, & i may as i do have stamps 2 match, but ill use a sticker label 4 the address, which i don't like 2 do but it will confuse the hell outta me 2 make room 4 it w/that design

****end of her message

I really love these images. They are steal worthy and I'm guessing she'd be honored to have us making some faux-Sam designs.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Good idea / Bad idea (to do more bonus posts)

 Today's regular post is below this one. 

I've been checking The Far Side every day and there was one in todays group that made me laugh out loud. No this one. But, this one did make me think of some conversations and emails that I have had this week. Seem like there is a lot of pandemic fatigue percolating. I remember way back at the beginning, when our first response was to hunker down and we did. At the time, I pondered a daily bonus post - just to keep us distracted. But, I thought that might be too much. Now, I'm thinking I might do more bonus posts - just because I enjoy talking to people who only respond by email. I'll refrain from pondering what's behind that comment.

If you are annoyed by too many posts -- feel free to email me and tell me. I have no idea if I will cease and desist. <the link, in case you want to see some more cartoons.

I can't remember what they call those emails that you can sign up for where *people* send emails with surfing opportunities. I'm signed up to hear from The New Yorker magazine - and today, there was a link to an article about the Wizard of Oz, written in 1992 by Salman Rushdie. 

There were all kinds of observations that I had never noticed about the movie. So, here's the article, in case anyone is interested:

The Wizard of Oz

Are these repeats?

From Smash

From Gina

From NancyL

I've refrained from jabbering about my confusion and poor filing system for a while.
Today, I am posting a few that I think might already have been posted, but, there is no easy way to find out.

It is now June 15th  August 17th Oct 21and I am making a last ditch effort to fill up every date until Dec  31st.
And then maybe I can keep 2021 in order.

On top of everything else - these photos are jumping around and the captions are not sticking with them - so I don't know what kind of mess will pop up.


At least we have pretty things to look at.


The Tuesday post mentioned that I was about to join Chicago rush hour traffic.
It was actually just fine - except for the side trip to put air in a tire.
Thankfully, the car is able to alert me to something that I need to take care of.
Sadly, the exciting new digital machines with air are not Nanna friendly.
And then -- Let's hear a chorus of angels and trumpets and uplifting hoopla:
a lovely young woman pulled in behind me - needing air - and she helped me.
It may seem like a very minor thing -- but it meant a lot to me.
I had already sought help from a couple people who started shaking their heads "no" even before I said anything. 
So, I continue on - another 5+ hours of driving -- and hoping that the tire was OK.
The warning light never went off -- so that was ominous.
And -- if that wasn't enough --
let's break a record for earliest snowfall -- and dump some snow on Nanna for a couple hours.
 I've had plenty of experience in snow storms on the interstate, so, I wasn't too traumatized.

Note to self: Next time you need to go to Chicago -- buy a hazmat suit and fly.

And what's the best part of being home?
My mail.
Yup -- it's tempting to share it right now.
But, you'll just have to wait until next year.
That's how it works.
Oct 2020 envelopes will show up in Sept of 2021 -- to inspire you.

Thanks so much for participating in exchanges. And if you do not exchange - thanks for just showing up and reading. Something I read recently was profound and I was thinking I needed to share it - but I'll never find it --  it had something to do with the benefits of writing. Some people send the nicest letters and notes in their envelopes -- and it is really nice to hear from you. Others -- send empty envelopes -- and I can honestly say -- "I hear ya" to those people, too. 


From Chuck to Marg

Check out the stamp on this one. 
I do not recall ever seeing that stamp and it is lovely. 
Birds and flowers - some of the best stamps are birds and flowers.

That was a short blurb written a while back.
I'm in the midst of bumping posts - that thing I said I would not do.
I'm forever saying I won't do things - and then I do them.
I recall saying this when I taught - and maybe I have already included this in a post - but, I am going to say it again.
When I started my journey in calligraphy, my teacher kept asking me if I wanted to take on jobs - as she had jobs that she wanted to pass along to someone.
I said: No, I will never do free lance calligraphy work.
(Because I had been a freelance graphic designer and I had burned out on dealing with clients.)
And then I did.
When people asked me to teach,
I said: No. I will never teach.
And then I did.

Is there a lesson there? I have no idea.
All I know is that as time rolls along, sometimes we switch things up.
It is currently Aug 29 -- I had about 5 really dismal emails from friends and penpals this week.

and now it is Sept 27 - and I deleted what I had written after that last sentence.
Life continues to have ups and downs.
All I know is that my daily posts are scheduled thru Jan 4th.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

From Jill in May

Wouldn't it be nice if we looked at this envelope and thought, 
"Gosh, aren't we glad that that's over?"

As I write this on June 15 - 
there is spiking in Iowa.


Obviously, there has been a ton of creativity from the pandemic.
Hopefully there will be something more than creativity - 
like better preparations for future outbreaks.
Is that asking too much?

On Aug 16th, I bumped this one because I had to insert something.
Now, we'll be reading this in October.
My prediction is that it's been another 8 weeks of mishegas.
That's the Yiddish word for crazy/craziness.

Here it is, the Monday before this post is scheduled to pop up and things are dismal. 
<long pause staring at the screen trying to think of something uplifting to say> 
It's 6:30 am and I need to hit the road. 
It's time to return to the Duh Moines after my two weeks with the grandkids.
 Maybe I'll have some better thoughts tomorrow -- what was that goal I mentioned? 
Staying comparatively sane. 
Yeah. I can do that.
 Nanna joining the morning rush hour traffic in Chicago - that's a sane place. 
<rolling eyes>

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Final Aug Envelopes (Outgoing)

Blogger is messing with me again.
I won't bother with details.
I'm halfway concerned that I have no credibility when I announce the end of a series on Monday - and then on Tuesday - post some more. The other half of me feels like my ineptitude is a reflection of - what? I dunno. I'm not in a reflective or analytical mood at the moment.

I'm pretty sure I had something different inside of Inta's, but, I thought it was hard to read - and then I forgot to photograph it. The one to Haley was done with an ink pad and an eraser. It's too regimented. It would have been so much more fun if the letters had a little bounce and tipsy to them. Maybe I will remember to try again next month. The Sesame Street stamps have really grown on me.

And then we have the notebook paper idea for Gina, Carol and Kathleen. I've done it before - but not in neon. 

This was the challenging aspect with the celebrate stamp.
The polka dots were not hand done - so -  hand drawn circles *clashed* with the precise circles on the stamp. To me, the circles started to look better when I made them scribbly - by going around several times.

On Inta's, I used a template to make some precise circles. Then layered on some scribbles. It's not wildly exciting. But it was fun to experiment with dots -- since they are one of my go-to elements.