Saturday, July 31, 2021

Salon invitation & first anniversary mailing (Colin's 40th B'day)


This should be the end of the wedding related mailings. I had one more idea that the bride politely declined and I agree, it was not stylish enough. I realized I had not sent anything in a vellum envelope and I came up with a paper doll invitation for the girls who were going to go to a salon together on the morning of the wedding. I had a sheet of the doll stamps that I thought would be cute. I'm glad my daughter's editing gene was working. I'd clearly gone overboard.





Eight months after the wedding E&C moved to Australia. I thought it would be fun for all the wedding guests to send them a happy anniversary postcard. I do not recall why I chose this heavy cardboard for postcards, but I did. Maybe I had a big stack of it. In addition to these, I had some other fun postcards that I used. So, there was a hodge podge of mail. Some people even got note cards inside an envelope instead of a postcard. The cardboard postcards were embellished with a few rubber stamps.

E&C were happy to get a stack of mail. I must have enclosed some kind of explanatory note when I sent the postcards to the guests - but, I did not keep a copy of it. And I can't remember if I did anything fun on the envelopes -- I must have put some thought into it -- or maybe I just used up leftovers and did an easy splashy pointed brush. I do recall that I did not consider this mailing to be quite as spectacular as the rest of the mailings -- but, a stack of personal notes was probably more fun than putting a ton of time into fine design.

***
Last week, the groom turned 40 and my daughter had mailed 40 self-addressed stamped photo postcards to friends and family - which they mailed to him on his birthday. I was so proud of her for coordinating the mailing entirely on her own. Here is mine - not very inspired. I just pulled out a page of vintage stickers. One would think that I would go all out for his birthday - but I already know that the *gift* he values most is when I schedule time to stay with his kids or bring them to Iowa so that he and my darling daughter can get some much needed downtime. They are both a bit high strung and the cross pollination did not produce easy going offspring.















 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Surprise. Janet's flowers to Debbie


 I thought I had used up all of those stamps and then -surprise- I found one more. I'm fine with this variation of Janet's flowers - although I just noticed that I missed one of the purple petals. Dang. Plus, I am short one envelope to fill up July. By the time this pops up, I will be through with my grandma duties for the summer - so, who knows, I might be at death's door with the latest germ or I might be rejuvenated and have scintillating replacement blurbs. I tend to catch the local Chicago germs and bring them home and spend a week in bed. 

***
Well, the good news is - I did not catch any bad bugs from the grandkids. It was a marvelous three weeks. The weather was great. At 5 and 7 - they are getting to be more fun and less work. I'm already brainstorming for Camp Nanna 2022. I suspect they are brainstorming new ways to bamboozle Nanna. After they spent their week in Iowa, I spent two weeks in Chicago. During that time, their parents were invited to visit college friends in Nantucket for a long weekend. During Nanna's reign, the grandkids told me that they had been wanting to melt marshmallows with chocolate chips and then put sprinkles on top. The older one (a 7 year old girl) was very convincing when she said they had asked their mom about trying out the *recipe*, but that she had said it sounded like something that Nanna would want to do. Bamboozled. But, it was worth it to see the look on my daughter's face when I told her what they had bamboozled me into. If she doesn't want them to eat things like that, the ingredients should not be in the house. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Scrawling to Rachael, Chuck, Troy and Smash


It looks like I lapsed into a *git'er'done* frame of mind. Apologies to all. 
The one to troy wandered around and came back to me. The address was perfectly clear. I sent it back inside a new envelope for the June exchange.

Once again, a lame excuse -- but these were from my doldrum days.
I'm sure we are all very happy that those days are gone.


The skimpy clothing for women controversy seems to be gaining some momentum. Wouldn't it be lovely if some common sense burst forth? I'm not going to hold my breath - but I'm not going to be cynical. 

I have some fabulous mail to photograph and post - it's been a few weeks since I put up any new posts. I'm still 100% warm and fuzzy because so many of you enjoyed the wedding mailings. Thank you again for comments and posts. I have another series that will start on August 25th. It's a tiny bit off topic, but, there are a couple tie-ins that I just love. Topics that run for a few days seem to be fun.
 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

PTSD to Carolyn and Jessica (Olympic rant)


The big, bold, white PITT marker was out -- I had used it on that layered mess to Kate. So, I figured I could do something on black. In addition to using up stamps, I have that hoard of envelopes. Sometimes I think I should just force myself to pick a box and start in the front and just use them up in order.

I like the PTSD stamps. They look good on black. This is an uninspired blog-blurb. Sorry. Hopefully, I will come back and improve the blurbs during this series.

***
Additional heartfelt thanks to the people who have left comments, included personal notes in snail mail and sent emails. Having an audience for my rants and ramblings is energizing. 

Now -- fasten your seatbelts - because I have a new rant. The Olympics. Jean generally ignores the Olympics because of all the political stuff that seems to detract from the fact that some very remarkable athletes just want to have a competition amongst themselves. In Jean's Olympics, the entire thing would be closed to the public as well as any type of media. If you want to compete, you agree to compete without all the frou-frah and falderal (folderol).

If you wanted to watch, you could sign up to be on the all-volunteer team that managed the logistics of running the event. It would not have to be in one place - locations would be conveniently located all over the world. Summer and winter events could be held at one time because we have two hemispheres. Yes, it would disappoint the people who love the camaraderie and the spectacle - but it would also focus on the essential part. Who just ran the fastest or jumped the highest. Wouldn't it be fun for people to just show up. Compete. Get their medals. And go home?

There have been several Olympic related items that got Jean's blood boiling - but the one that seems to be 100% absurd is the requirement for women to wear bikini bottoms while men wear shorts. Can someone explain this? If the women prefer the bikinis, fine -- but why are they required? And what if there were men who thought the bikinis were more comfortable? 




 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Coffee stamps to MicB and Leslie (Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett)



I knew I was going to have the entire hoard of stamp used up and I bought the coffee stamps to have on hand. I had vowed that I would not let myself use them until the hoard was gone - but, that didn't work out. I had to get the envelopes in the mail so -- I went ahead and started on coffee. Those are some of my favorite colors.

I'm cringing at the way I wrote MicB -- it would take me a while to get a MicB that I liked. It's an odd group of letters. I feel better about the style on Leslie's - but it's not a *wow.* I am also thrown off by the spelling of MicB because I knew someone who went by McB -- so MicB looks like a misspelling to me. I'm sure if MicB sticks with the exchanges, I will figure out some MicBs that I like.

***

I do not have anything rant-worthy today, but I can recommend a book with some good ol' rants. I needed to find something to take to jury duty and checked it out from the library. Jury duty involves a lot of waiting and I had ample time to get into it. Lucky for me, they found enough jurors without needing me so I got to go home by noon. But, by then, I just wanted to finish the book and so I did.

Perfection by Julie Metz. I think it came out in 2006, so maybe everyone has already read it. The rant(s) she relates involve calling up 5 women with whom her husband had had affairs. She only found out about the affairs after he literally dropped dead, unexpectedly, in his mid40s and left some email tracks for her to follow. The book was recommended by Marion Roach Smith who teaches classes in writing memoirs and her recommendations seem to be good recommendations if you like those better-than-fiction stories.

While it was full of justified ranting, she does work through all kinds of issues and I will not spoil the ending. It was one of those coincidences that defies description - magical doesn't seem like the right word. Cosmic?

***

And I have to mention another book that has one of those unbelievable *things* that happens that seems very *cosmic.* I don't even know if that's the right word. The book is by Elizabeth Gilbert and the name is Big Magic - so maybe *magic* is the appropriate word. She had done a lot of writing on a book - but it wasn't coming together - so she set it aside. Then, years later she ran into another author (I'm pretty sure is was Ann Patchett) and when they were catching up and talking about what they were working on, Ann was working on a book that was pretty much everything that Elizabeth had already written and set aside. There's more to the story, but considering I'm not even sure I have Ann's name right -- I won't say more. I did enjoy the book a lot.

Oh, I love Google. I found a blurb about the incident. In Big Magic, Elizabeth tells how they even pin pointed how the idea that was *flying around* flew into Ann. (Yes, my memory was correct - it was Ann Patchett.)

The friends recently discovered they were writing novels about the same topic. As Patchett explained to Gilbert: “this friend of mine, who happens to be you...[was] writing a novel about the Amazon, and then you decided not to write a novel about the Amazon, and then I started writing a novel about the Amazon, and later when we compared notes (your book dismissed, mine halfway finished) they had remarkably similar story lines, to the point of being eerie. I thought this must be because it was an incredibly banal idea and we had both come up with a generic Amazon novel, but then you told me that ideas fly around looking for homes, and when the idea hadn’t worked out with you it came to me."


 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Step 5 (I think) (stoic stuff)


 I'm doing a bunch of posts during coffee time in early June. If you think this one looks like I was just trying to cover up multiple layers of mess - you are correct. Sometimes I end up liking these overworked monstrosities. Of course, there was also the added layer of using up the stamps. I don't think I ever decided how I felt about this one. In case you can't see it - the name Kate Riley is layered.

****
During my doldrums (which are long gone), I received some lovely emails and snail mails - and it was comforting to know that people cared about my condition. Some people said they were feeling the same way. Now that I am back on track I hope all y'all know that I am still having moments when the news of the day tries to yank me off my track. I don't expect the *universal condition* to be resolved in my lifetime.

Even though I have whined about the stoicism-fad-du-jour, I am going to share some of the blurbs that remind me why I can stay on track when I feel the doldrums approaching. This is from the Daily Stoic - I like the reminder at the end to look after each other. 

The virus doesn’t care. 

It doesn’t care that you love visiting your grandmother. It doesn’t care that you recently finished chemotherapy. It doesn’t care about the collateral damage. It doesn’t care about your theories or your political beliefs. It doesn’t care about anything.

And for the “virus” we can plug in lots of things. Fate. Death. Tyrants. Time. The economy. Creative destruction. As the Tim McGraw song says, the highway don’t care. It doesn’t care that you’re a good person. It doesn’t care that you looked down at your phone for just one second. It doesn’t care that you had your whole life in front of you. 

In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius quotes a long-lost fragment from Euripides. Why should you be angry at the world, he says, as if the world would notice. The world doesn’t care that it broke your heart. The world doesn’t care that you really, really needed something. Fate and fortune are indifferent. Objective. Merciless. They just keep marching on. 

We can get upset about this. We can take it personally. But why? This doesn’t change anything either...except to make us extra unhappy on top. All we can do is accept what they are and what they represent. All we can do is fight to protect ourselves and the people we care about. All we can do is continue to hold ourselves to the standards we believe in. All we can do is live while we can.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Step 4 - not even stealing anymore (jury duty)


 There's nothing left of Janet's good idea. I dwindled into my go-to stuff. My excuse was that these were done in May while I was in the doldrums. Seems like eons ago.

I deeply regret the RE in Drewski. 

****

I'm writing this on June 6 - jury duty starts tomorrow. I served on a jury one time. Vehicular homicide. We convicted. I think people who have served on any kind of homicide case and convicted should be exempt from further duty. Also, opinions that were generated during the 40 years of hearing about inner workings of legal stuff (from Mr Wilson) should keep me away from the whole process. 

And my hearing is terrible. What if I can't hear? Should I raise my hand and tell them I can't hear and need to go home. How old does one have to be to be too old and to be exempt? 

And Mr Wilson thought I needed a new car so he mentioned it to a friend of his who had purchased previous used cars from the Wilsons. Upon hearing that a new model from the Wilson fleet was going to be available the friend managed to total his current car. Mr Wilson sold my car to the friend because the friend *needs*  a car to get to work. 

Mr Wilson thought you could just go out and buy a car. You can if you want a basic model. But he wants all the added safety features - so all he can do is get on a waiting list. 

Does this mean Mr Wilson is going to chauffeur me to jury duty? Or will they excuse me because I do not have a car? Am I supposed to ride the bus? I'm perplexed. But, for those of you who enjoyed my rants, we might have some good ones coming up. I have not even mentioned how much I am dreading being around a bunch of people. I wonder what they would do if I showed up in a haz-mat suit with a bubble helmet and my own oxygen.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Stealing from Janet, step 3 (Fish book and Chatter book)


I was happy with Lauren's and it would have been easy to do a bunch like that, but, I knew I needed some variety for the blog so, I switched the focus to the lettering. Those lines and hearts on Cathy's don't do anything for me. I wonder what I tried next.

Please excuse the skimpy blurbs. These posts were written a long time ago and I thought I would try to add to them with more current topics. At the moment, there is nothing going on -- except the routine stuff that is pretty boring. 

***
I listened to a book that I really enjoyed, but I have no idea if anyone else would like it. Maybe if you find some reviews, you can figure out if it would be  of interest. It's non-fiction - and does not remind me of any other book.
Why Fish Don't Exist by Lulu Miller

Currently, I am in the middle of Chatter: the voice in our head, why it matters, and how to harness it, by Ethan Kross.
Oh.My.Gosh. 
That crazy little Jean that yaks at me all day has been such a mixed bag. Sometimes she is helpful but other times, she wreaks havoc. Research has been going on for quite some time and I am sure there will be more - but for now - this is a wonderful description of what's going on and how to *get a grip* so to speak. I am tempted to pull out bullet points so that you don't have to read the book - but since I am only halfway through, I will save that thought.

The latest chapter explained the value of me referring to myself as Jean when I am talking. So, Jean hopes that she does not annoy the heck out of you with her new way of speaking. There are about 35 posts already written- and Jean is not going to go back and edit them. Starting in late August, the format should be consistent. 

Jean welcomes input and will rethink this decision if she receives enough persuasive comments from readers and penpals. Keep in mind, if Jean can get a handle on evil-Jean who does all the problem chattering, it might enhance the blog. Let's give it a try.

 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Stealing from Janet, step 2 (Where's Dave?)


There was no warning yesterday that there is another series. It will show a progression of ideas when Janet's shamrock envelope was chosen to inspire some envelopes. As mentioned before, if you have 25-30 envelopes to get done in a couple days, it helps to get an idea and riff on it. So, I photographed yesterday's envelope with the second one I did. I will continue to do this so we see if there is progress or not.

It is not uncommon for me -when stealing an idea - to send my version to the person who inspired the theft. I had to figure out how to overlap. I played around with a variety of sizes. To me, the second one to Lauren looks better. I also liked using the lettering off the stamp. That looks a whole lot better. I apologize to Janet for sending her the worst of the lot. 

***
Yesterday, the story about the UPS driver said his name was Dave - which reminded me that our all-time favorite USPS letter carrier was Dave. I have several posts about him. And once, when my son, Hunter, was delivering, he even ran into Dave and they had a lovely chat. I also wonder if Dave has ever looked up the blog? He retired in 2013 and the exchanges did not start until Nov of 2013 - although the blog started in 2010. He might have zero interest in mail art. Although, he did seem to enjoy all the fun mail that he delivered and picked up from the 420. Maybe I should track him down and send him some mail.

***
On Wednesday I found 7 copies of the holiday poem that I wrote about Dave. So, 7 lucky exchangers will get their own version of the little book I made. I might do my holiday mailings in August. As promised, I will not add a single item to the tsunami of mail that the USPS has to face in December.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Stealing from Janet (UPS driver story)


Lessons in stealing. Take an idea and change the color. It is obvious what change I made that makes it a not-successful steal? If you said, "You forgot to put in two smaller flowers," you are correct. I do not know why I did not. Probably because my stems are too thick.

***
Today, we are going to read a heartwarming story about a UPS driver. Not quite a USPS story - but, close enough. It's from the NYT

He Delivered for Me

How my UPS driver went from annoyance to emotional lifeline.


By Danielle Festino

April 30, 2021, 12:00 a.m. ET


For the first year of our relationship, I didn’t know his name and didn’t welcome his interruptions. I felt hassled by the unexpected knock on my window, which was necessary to get my attention because my apartment lacked a doorbell.


Despite my annoyance, I secretly named him Kris, for Kris Kringle, because he was a kind of modern-day Santa Claus. With his white hair and grandfatherly vibe, he brought me presents and tried to spread cheer. Except his uniform was UPS brown, not Santa Claus red, and I had ordered and paid for the presents myself.


Our relationship started nearly two-and-a-half-years ago when I moved into a small, ground-floor apartment north of Boston. My boyfriend and I weren’t quite ready to move in together, so this was an interim step, a place for sleeping when I wasn’t at the office or socializing. And I was almost always at the office or socializing.


On the rare days I was home, the UPS man, seeing my car in the driveway, would knock until I reluctantly came to collect my package. I hated small talk, but with him I made an effort, chatting about the weather or Tom Brady, fail-safe topics for building camaraderie in Boston.


I asked my somewhat misanthropic boyfriend if it was odd for me to spend so much time with the UPS man. He said it was weird, possibly dangerous, and urged me to ignore future knocks, which should have been easy advice to follow. But Kris reminded me of my father, who also had spent his workdays alone on a truck (in his case, delivering home heating oil) and had loved chatting with his customers, so I continued to answer the door.


But that was all before. Before my boyfriend and I broke up. Before Tom Brady moved to Florida. And before Covid changed everything, including my feelings toward Kris, the UPS man.

Trapped in my studio apartment, I craved conversation and company. Days would pass without any human contact. My upstairs neighbor got sick and went to the hospital. I watched people outside my window sneaking into the closed church to pray. My entire world had become small, lonely and apocalyptic. And far from dreading Kris’s knock, I became a Covid version of Pavlov’s dog, salivating when I heard it.


Well, not exactly salivating. But I did look forward to his visits and deliveries, which were plentiful. From workout equipment to tie-dye jumpsuits to baking supplies, he brought the endless stream of stuff I had ordered and would then stay for some face time.


With him standing at the edge of the porch, masked, and me in my doorway, we discussed current events (the volatility of the toilet paper market), pop culture (we both loved Baby Yoda) and details about our lockdown hobbies (he had taken up gardening while I was learning how to play the recorder).


One dreary afternoon, he lingered for a particularly long chat, sharing details about his new lemon trees. After walking me through the entire repotting process, he said, “Well, I hope this helped.”


It was then I realized that he meant our five-minute conversations to be a lifeline — and he was possibly doing the same for others, despite his busier-than-ever workload.

On days without deliveries, I would work uninterrupted at the small desk I had set up facing my front window. Between strategic planning sessions on Zoom, I would watch the traffic outside, looking for his brown truck to pull up my narrow, one-way street.


Despite my ex’s warnings, there was nothing the least bit creepy or even flirtatious about his overtures. Kris would tell me about his favorite routes and neighborhoods, how he loved tree-lined streets but hated hills and was obsessed with “Star Wars.”


I even learned his real first name, Dave. He had a wife and two sons, whom he worried about constantly. Part therapist and part guardian angel, he also checked in on my mental health (“Are you losing it yet?”), my work (“How many Zooms today?”) and my distractions (“Any new hobbies?”).


One sunny day in early June, he motioned to the package he had placed on the porch and said, “That felt heavy. New workout equipment?


“Nah,” I said. “It’s just a dumb frying pan.”

By then, he knew me well enough not to shrug it off. “Why do I feel like there’s a story here?”

I hadn’t told anyone the embarrassing truth of the pans, but with him, the story poured out. “Over a decade ago,” I said, “my mother found a gorgeous new cookware set on sale at Macy’s. She was saving it for my wedding shower, or my sister’s, whichever came first. Because that hasn’t happened yet for either of us, the pans sat in my mother’s basement, mocking me every time I went down there. So last month, I finally took them.”


My mother hadn’t told me to take them — not because she didn’t think I deserved to, but because doing so felt like I was throwing in the towel for both me and my sister.

“Honestly, I’m not sure why I took them,” I said. “I thought I would feel empowered, but I just feel sad.” I looked at the ground as my eyes welled with tears. Blinking them away, I said, “Anyway, to use instead, I bought an overpriced, nontoxic pan I saw on Instagram, and you just delivered it.”


Dave stood quietly for a moment, as if working out a complicated math problem. “I had a dream the other night that the world ended,” he said, “but I survived. I know that’s a lousy thing to say given what’s happening, but it wasn’t sad, because my family survived too.” He shrugged behind his mask. “I wonder: If it all disappeared, except for you, your family, your house, would those pans hold the same meaning?”


I shook my head. “Probably not.”

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be,” he said. “I believe that. And I hope someday you do too.”


One hot day in July, Dave knocked with a package, and when I answered, he told me that UPS was changing his route. My heart sank as we stood in our usual spots, him leaning on the railing and me in the threshold of the door.


I was embarrassed to admit how much I had come to depend on his visits. Other than a few outdoor get-togethers with friends and family, I had been completely alone. Sometimes I would even abruptly end Zoom meetings when he arrived, happily trading screens and Slack messages for actual human contact.


“I’m excited for a change,” he said, “but I’m going to miss my regulars.”

“Congratulations.” I didn’t know what else to say. How do you thank a person for saving your sanity?


He broke the silence with a typical Dave question: “When travel becomes safe, where will you go first?”

“Italy,” I said. It was always Italy. Not knowing how to say goodbye to Dave, I instead babbled about the small Pugliese town where my mother was born.


“That must be nice to know where you come from,” he said.

“It is. I only wish it helped me figure out where I’m going.”


He nodded, but between his mask and sunglasses, it was difficult to know what he was thinking. “I used to wonder what I was doing with my life,” he said. “My job, this job, just felt so — small.”

“What changed?”


“Nothing, apart from my attitude,” he said. “I realized that I was delivering people things they needed, things that brought them joy. Even before the pandemic, I decided it was important.”

I couldn’t see his smile through his mask, but I could sense it. “So wise, you are, Padawan,” I said. “And so important.”


At that, Dave finally pulled down his mask and flashed a smile, then offered me his elbow before turning to leave — all of my gratitude and affection reduced to an elbow bump. I owed him so much more.


That was many months ago. I haven’t spoken to the new guy yet; he comes and goes like a ghost, delivering my packages without knocking.


I still miss my friend. If I saw Dave tomorrow, I would tell him I’m learning the theme to “Titanic” on my recorder, planning a trip to Italy with my sister, and I just got my first shot. I would ask him how he and his family are doing and if the lemon tree bore fruit. More than anything, I would ask him for his address so I could deliver something to him this time — a gift of my appreciation.

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

From Ming - (new NYT puzzle)


 I love the brackets on this envelope and need to start an official place where I park the ideas that I want to try. Thank you, Ming. 

***

When I first added this game to the post - I was getting it for free every day. Then it went to subscription only. Then it went to one-play-per-day. So, it might have changed by the time this posts pops up.

***

I discovered another morning-coffee-game that I just love. If you try it - click on the [Help] button to see the rules. You get 12 letters - and those 12 letters will make up 2 words. While it is fun to figure out the two words, the point is to make a certain number of words out of the letters provided and there is a requirement for the order of letters that is too complicated to explain. 

All I can say is that the day I stumbled across this game, it really caught me, in a good way. I spent a ridiculous amount of time finding *5 words or less* - so the next day -- I popped it open and magically, I could see the two words that could be made from the 12 letters. It totally hooked me.

And here is the best part -- the name of the game is Letter Boxed. That's a perfect name for an envelope aficionado. I can't figure out if it is brand new (in May when I am writing this) or if it was there all along and I just didn't see it. Doesn't matter -- so happy to have found it.

https://www.nytimes.com/puzzles/letter-boxed

This is a screen shot of what it looks like as you figure out words. Whatever letter you end on - becomes the first letter of the next word. I need to find a word that starts with H and hopefully includes a G or Z. Or two more words. Each day, if you are very clever, you can find two words that use all the letters. In this puzzle, the two words were ZEBRA ANTHOLOGY



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Hearts from Leslie (cardboard beds)


Oh, dear. This one had a little trouble sailing across town from Leslie's house to my house. Grrrr to the extra scribbling - and in red -- grrrr. 

There was a note enclosed telling me that the design was covering up an ooops that had put the envelope into a discard-but-not-all-the-way-to-the-waste-basket pile. And I believe she said that I had sent her something that was a clever covered-up-oops. I do enjoy the challenge of a creative way to use an envelope that has an oops - especially if the oops is right at the very start. 

***
A real time P.S. about cardboard beds at the Olympics. As previously mentioned, I have had a long history of loving cardboard and lamenting how little time I get to actually build things out of cardboard. Recently, I sent the queen sized bed (in the guest room) to  my son't new house and needed to decide what to use for the grandkids. I ended up with two single size inflatables which they loved. I figured they were compact(able) and kept the room pretty flexible for future uses.

But I love these cardboard beds and would have loved to have gone that route. 


I guess stories about these beds have gone viral in the past hour -- so I apologize for adding to the frenzy. I try to find things that are more obscure. 


This is my inspiration for the grandkids visit for next year.
This year, I made a canopy with twinkle lights for Alexandra, and for Ben, I had planets and stars that were both glow in the dark as well as *black light.* I learned so much about the two different kinds of light and might expand on that - now that I own a black light. 


The image is from handmade charlotte -- she has a ton of fun ideas for kids.

Monday, July 19, 2021

KateR (Martha Leaver?)


 This lettering reminds me of Martha Leaver's. I am not going to do any research on the spelling of her name or what she might have going on currently. When I first got into fun lettering, I saw her stuff online. That was a long time ago. It was before Pinterest. And waaaaaay before the plethora of online classes. I think, at the time, people had websites and blogs -- and that was it. I (obviously) had a blog - but I never had a website. I pondered -- but knew that I did not have time. 

I found a really long list of lettering arts websites that I had made a really long time ago. I started going through the list to see who was still up and running. I am not keeping track of percentages - some are still around - others have disappeared. Hopefully, I will figure out a way to collect the good stuff off my blog and put it into an archive that is easy to search. That seems like a project for this winter.

Back to the envelope -- I like the layout. I like the flush left address and how it is indented to fall right under the red stroke on the J. I love the little hearts, especially the one down by the zip code where Kate realized that the layout needed one more little *sum'thin'* to keep the eye moving around. Very nice.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

LOVE stamp from Janet


One alert reader/exchanger noticed that back in May I was running some fairly current envelopes. I was so impressed that someone would notice that. The simple reason was that I had lost this folder of the February exchange. After the first two weeks of the month being devoted to the e&c wedding, I hope all y'all can handle the sweetness of hearts/love/valentines.

Remember -- any idea can be morphed into a different subject. Or any idea may be appropriated and used freely. On this one, making some of the letters backwards is sooooo cute. I hope I remember to do it. I also hope I remember to buy some more of those stamps because I have a bunch of navy envelopes. 

I'm thinking the lettering looks like gel pen, but, I might be wrong. Maybe Janet remembers and will tell us. Another appropriate-able idea is the stacking and intertwining of the name. 

Has anyone noticed that I have switched from steal worthy to appropriation or appropriate-able? I think I will switch back to stealworthy. Or maybe not. Decisions, decisions.
 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Hearts for GraceE - back on track


Thank you for putting up with my trip down memory lane. I am writing this on May 31. I have 3 weeks to get my house in order for the grandkids' visit. Then I head back to Chicago with them and by the time this pops up I should be back in Des Moines - tending to the blog and hoard reduction.

It looks like GraceE used one of those fine tipped brush markers that are everywhere. So many different brands. I have several and I highly recommend them, except they do wear out (get mushy so that you no longer get any really fine lines). I have no idea if some of them are longer lasting. If you are frustrated with pointed nibs, these brush markers are an ideal way to try some copperplate without the finicky-ness of a pointed nib.

That is a nice border and it is always fun to see LOVE stamps from the past. It would be fun to meet the person who gets to run the meetings where they choose designs. I'm guessing there is a committee - but there must be someone who runs the meeting. Or - to sit in on the meetings. Or - turn the meetings into a reality show. I truly love some of my ideas. Thank you, coffee.
 

Friday, July 16, 2021

From Lauren to CathyO , MicB and Leslie



I've always wondered if Lauren sends the exact same design to each person on her exchange list. I'm guessing that it depends on what kinds of ideas she has. On this month, it looks like she had an idea for the lettering and then did variations based on stamps. 

I love the quilt stamps. These are perfect ideas to go with the stamps. It works great with two different stamps or with a matched set. 




And then Leslie's is quite different -- with the different stamps.


This post was supposed to have a few more items from my daughter's wedding - but, I ran out of time to photograph them. Maybe they will pop up in the future - but they aren't that exciting -- so, I think y'all will be more interested in seeing this lovely work by Lauren. Thank you for sending it, Lauren.

Lauren: unless it is a trade secret - would you mind telling us what you use to adhere your cut paper letters to the envelope? 







 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

e&c - thank you - mailing No 10

I hardly ever center the lines, but, my eye likes centering on a square envelope.
I also like mixing styles of lettering.

When this photo was taken, I did not have the stamps yet - those are just printed out on my printer from the USPS website. We had to wait for the Garden of Love stamps which were sooooo beautiful. I chose the big square, to have one more unique envelope for the series. Plus, I liked the idea of using two stamps. And apparently, I had not yet thought of doing big splashy flowers on the envelopes so this one is not a good representation of the thank yous.

I used the leftover Crane's card stock and ran the thank you card itself on my laser printer. Then I embossed lines on each one, by hand, with a bone folder. It was medium tedious - but I loved the look. My daughter enjoyed having lines to write on.


Here are photos taken by me of the only two examples I have with the actual stamps. I also found several envelopes with no stamps and I have no idea why I have them. I guess they were ones that I re-did. I did some with white colored pencil and some with white gel pen. The gel pen is definitely better. All the color is colored pencil. These stamps were gorgeous. I wish they would re-issue them. I was very happy with how the thank you envelopes turned out and used those stamps on a few custom invitations that year.





The one in the upper left is done with white gel pen which looks nice. but I like the darker green better. Maybe not. 

So, there you have it. Ten mailings. Not everyone got all ten mailings. And one time I added up exactly how many envelopes I did mail - but I did not write it down anywhere. I wish I had - along with how much I spent on postage. One time someone asked me if I knew how much the whole shebang cost and what I would charge to do it for someone else. While I did use up a ton of leftover stock, I know that I would charge an arm and a leg to do anything similar. And I'm glad that I only have one daughter. 

Thanks for letting me take this trip down memory lane. Over the years, I did a ton of wedding work even though I'm not keen on attending dressy events - or gatherings of more than a couple people. But, I did enjoy offering a service to people who loved mail and loved the beautiful penmanship. There were SO many clients who would simply GUSH about the comments from guests after they received their envelopes. Calligraphy is such a little thing -- but I probably said this to every single client, "Calligraphy sets the tone for your event. Some people are so happy to see their name written beautifully. And -after all- the guests are a really important part of the event - so that little extra touch is rather nice -- and often times appreciated."






 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

e&c - brunch invitation - mailing No 9

That's our uber-versatile Anything Goes lettering style.
Please note, on this version, I did not do much tipping back and forth of the letters. There is more variation in the size of the letters along with some up and down bouncing. I love that style. Or maybe I love it because I can do it without thinking.

Once again, I had a stash of these envelopes and the cartoon stamps, so I looked for a cartoon idea for the morning after brunch. I found a cartoon showing a business man at the continental breakfast at the hotel and all the continents were represented by donuts. I loved the idea. Our brunch was hosted by grandparents who were perfectly happy to let me do whatever I wanted to do.

Because there had been a few signs with Wilson-Powers Wedding, directing people to the reception, etc, I thought of putting a little Post-It note over the Wilson - changing it to Powers. Quite a few people asked me where I had found tiny Post-It notes. I made them.



I took the (above) picture of the front of the invitation.
The rest of the photos were done by the wedding photographer.



This is what was under the Post-It:


And, I am chuckling at the moment, recalling that a couple people actually came up to me at the brunch, which was your typical Sunday brunch (not a continental breakfast) and said, "I thought we were going to have donuts." Those were probably the people who wrote on the RSVP that they wanted tongue and rump roast at the reception.











 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

e&c - the program and what's what



 Over the years, when I was doing a lot of addressing of envelopes for brides, I had many requests to help clients with the programs. They are often printed on letterhead paper and folded in half or in thirds and the information is always awkward. The layouts are soooooo boring. They became my least favorite part of wedding work. It's hard to describe all the things that annoy me -- so I will spare you the whining. 

My first idea for a program was a business card that had these words:

Front:

ELLEN&COLIN

5-7-11

Back:

EVERYONE WALKS IN

I DO - I DO 

EVERYONE WALKS OUT

I can't imagine I will ever find a bride and groom who would put up with such nonsense. But, I'm sure there are plenty of guests who would appreciate it. Maybe it could be printed on a cracker, so that they could nibble on it as they waited for the show ceremony to begin. I don't mean to be disrespectful of important events. All those years of being super polite to people who were dealing with programs at the last minute wore me out. No matter how emphatically I encouraged then (or warned - or admonished) they were always waiting til the last minute and that annoyed me -- because I had warned them that they needed to get the programs out of the way a couple weeks prior to the wedding. Grrrrr.

So -- my more traditional idea went in this direction:

On the front, the wedding party is listed in the order that they were standing from left to right. I didn't spell that out for the guests and I didn't care if they figured it out. If you turn the program counter clockwise, once, there's your lineup.

On the inside, we had seen a program online that included a tissue for happy tears and we knew we had to include that. The pocket was a good place to include details about parents, grandparents, etc.

I loved my idea for the order of the ceremony. The part about programs that caused my migraines was that they were a boring list and included all kinds of info and blah-blah-blah - and depending on the info, there could be lines that were way too long (or too short) - and the layouts were always really cumbersome and less than aesthetic. 

I wanted to fit it into a neat box. That was easy- and there was a natural way to let people know that it was the predictable list, in a new format. Numbers. Because they were both CPAs, I loved the idea of including numbers. Again, I'm not sure if anyone picked up on that - and I do not care. I liked the looks of it.



There was a simple map on the back showing the short walk to the reception
and a greeting from the happy couple.

When people checked in to the hotel, E&C had a welcome bag and this was the little pamphlet I made to go with it. In addition to phone numbers there was a map of the neighborhood with listings for things to do in the area and a reminder of when and where things were happening. I'd like to say I was clever enough to come up with the title - but by now, you already know that I saw this idea on the internet.

Recently I went surfing because I have not looked at wedding stuff in a loooong time. There's a lot of good stuff out there. Offbeat Bride is still up and running - if you are curious about what the very non-traditional couples are doing these days.


At the reception, we had menus and color coded place cards.
This photo is from a album I put together with all the mailings.
I took it too IAMPETH one time and shared it during Round Robin night. 
The title of the album is *The Calligrapher's Daughter's Wedding*


I ran these photos previously - will add them here, just to have everything in one place.
The album is an accordion - so it was easy to display at IAMPETH.


I used up random papers in my stash for the pages.


White PITT marker on Canson paper.








Monday, July 12, 2021

e&c - see U soon - mailing No 8


I have no idea how I came up with this idea.
I really don't. 
I'm pretty sure I would remember if it was something I saw - so I'm pretty sure -- it just came to me. Maybe not. If someone ever sees the same thing -- please let me know. I'm sure if I saw an inspiration for it, I would remember it when I saw it. But I have a feeling that I was just in a mailing frenzy. I know for a fact that I didn't bother with anything else during the wedding planning. E&C were both very good at planning every little detail for the wedding in Chicago and I was thrilled that all I had to do was show up. 

I even let my own dress go until the last minute and just grabbed one off a sale rack. I will refrain from saying anything about the *job* of getting the two younger brothers organized to look presentable and behave appropriately at a wedding that was going to be spiffier than anything they had ever attended in Duh Moines.

Here's the insert in the *one-more-mailing* envelope.
Once again -- the save the date was in a business sized envelope - so to make this one different, I addressed it in the portrait orientation. I probably won't ever do this again now that I am being helpful to the USPS. 

However, if you want to add the surcharge and address a business envelope in the portrait orientation, I think it is a very fun way to address. Y'all know how much I love the quilt stamps.




It was really hard to get a super black background, digitally. So this ended up on a really slick paper that I did not care for - but that was a minor detail.




 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

e&c - rehearsal dinner invitation - mailing No 7


While not exactly from me - the grooms parents were happy to have me address the invitations to the rehearsal dinner. Rather than design a custom invitation, I had the bride and groom order something online. When they arrived, I upgraded the envelopes to some extras I had on hand. 

Once again, I was very happy with the USPS for providing a very fun celebratory stamp.
And there's nothing special about the layout - it's legible.

By now, you are thinking, we must be getting close to the end of this whole series. The only thing left will be the thank yous.
Nope.
My favorite mailing is next.
Not that I have a favorite - the whole series is my all time favorite project. 
But, the next one is fun.

I think the invitation was from Minted.


 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

e&c - gift receipt - mailing No 6


Not much to say about the layout on this - pretty straight forward.
White ink always looks nice on colored envelopes - but I like to make the address more USPS friendly.

The Crane's Blue Book of Etiquette has something that I spotted. I'd never heard of it because I was not raised with an etiquette book. The closest thing we had to etiquette was an iron clad rule to send a handwritten thank you - promptly. But that was it. After I got into the actual business of wedding addressing I bought a copy of the Blue Book so that I could answer questions for clients. The page I discovered showed wording for a note card saying that a gift had been received and that a thank you would follow. These were used in the day when a couple might go on a grand tour after their wedding, to explain the tardiness of the thank you.

Since I knew which stamps I wanted for the official thank yous, and I knew they were not coming out until after the wedding and after they returned from their honeymoon, I thought it would be cool to send the gift receipt cards so that people would get another mailing - plus, they would not be worried if the thank yous were a little slow in arriving. 

There were soooo many people who mentioned that they really appreciated all the mailings. These pre-thank yous received a number of mentions. Since the wedding was in Chicago, we opted to keep the DSM guests who were *parental aged* to only parents who had been very close with Ellen - not just friends of Mr Wilson and myself. Plus we have very few actual relatives. So -- of the 125 guests -- I only knew about 30 of them. It was really fun at the wedding that so many people found me to tell me how much they loved the mailings. It gave them an excuse to chat about something other than the usual wedding remarks, "Oh, the bride is so beautiful. Oh, they look so happy. Blah, blah, blah." 

I ran these off on my printer on the fancy Crane's paper, cut them by hand and used the small 3.5 x 5 envelopes from Paper Source.