Friday, September 30, 2022

From Patty and Lynne - Geometry and the hurricane

Patty and Lynne went with water related ideas in August. That women's rowing stamp lends itself to being layered over a background. I like the scribbles.
Lynne featured a shark on *the shark lady's* stamp. I had not heard about Eugenie Clark. She's a marine biologist who -according to the blurb at the USPS website- worked to change the public's perception of sharks. 

Thank you to CJ for explaining the missing square in the geometry puzzle. It was National Coffee Day and it had gone out for coffee. I actually have seen the solution to the puzzle and I have also lost the link but I will find it and post it s.o.m.e.d.a.y. Scroll down to see CJs comment if you didn't see it yesterday.

Tomorrow is Oct 1 - and sign-up day for the exchange. Alert readers have probably seen monthly envelopes to and from Jessica in Fort Myers. We are all hoping to hear that all is well with Jessica and her family. Maybe as-well-as-can-be-expected or hoped for? We'd love to hear from you Jessica. 

We also have exchangers in the Carolinas - and if they have any interesting stories or photos - please share. I remember Lynne sending some awesome photos of snow a couple years ago. 

Brace yourselves for October - it flip flops between so pretty (colorful leaves) and so dead (dead leaves) with ominous foreshadowing of the depths of winter. Ice and snow - lurking - plotting and planning close encounters with vulnerable limbs and joints. Even rain can be treacherous. I'm cooking up a spooky-shady theme for my Oct envelopes.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

From Ming in July. Triangle puzzle.

 Ming looks like she is into geometry. She said this was a first time doing a round design rather than leafy/flowery designs. I think it is just lovely - and I like her penmanship, too. She used a parallel pen.

So -- here is our puzzle for the geometrists.
What's the word for people who *do* geometry? Geometricologists?

I know the paper is flimsy and curled a bit - so it might look a little less than precise. But, I assure you that the first picture shows the exact pieces of paper - in the position they were before I cut them.

After they are rearranged - they do not take up the same area. How can that be?
CJ and DK (my brother) are the two people who tend to answer these types of questions. But there might be another whiz out there who can figure it out. Or maybe it's something we all learned in high school and have all forgotten.

This is the original. 13 square high - 5 squares wide.
Cut off the top 8 squares and move that triangle to the left.

Then make a vertical cut to make the pink triangle which is 5 high and 2 wide.
That leaves a rectangle which is 5 high and 3 wide.
Cut it as shown in the yellow and blue shapes.

Move yellow up.
This leaves the blank space that shows the blue paper background.

The pink triangle fits perfectly in the top
and the green triangle fits perfectly at the bottom.

Why is there one empty square?

And the answer better not be solar flares.

If anyone objects to my flimsy paper pattern - 
I will be happy to make one out of sturdier paper.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

From Chuck in July - postal crime fighting

Happy mail from ChuckM. I am writing this on Sept 5th. Sept was the month where I was going to Chuckerize my approach to doing my exchange envelopes. The first part went really well. I had 20 envelopes started. Then when I came back to finish them, the wheels fell off. They will pop up in a few days (or weeks) along with everything I learned from trying the Chuck approach.

While wandering through the USPS site - I discovered the postal inspectors site. Oh.My.Gosh. There are some very interesting articles on all the various kinds of criminals they apprehend. Lots more going on besides counterfeit stamps. Elder-scamming, romance-scamming, drug trafficking, people selling fake COVID preventative devices, the list goes on and on.

I'm not going to choose any particular article - because I have no idea which ones would be of interest. Here is the main site for the surfers who may be interested.

I also had a flashback - to the olden days - when I was a kid. I remembered seeing the wanted posters at the post office. There is a place on the main/news page to click on the [Wanted Poster]. It is not like the old time wanted posters. It's all robbery, armed robbery of postal workers as well as assault. Also break ins at post offices. I remember the day I was at the main post office and a customer started to get scary-angry. I guess there have been two times when I was very uncomfortable with the atmosphere. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

From Mary in July - counterfeit stamps

 You need to see this in person to see that Mary stitched the *buzz line* by hand. It's hard to picture how she maneuvered the needle and thread - but the effect is adorable. The stitching does not go all the way through. Maybe she deconstructed the envelope and did the stitching on the flat paper and then reconstructed the envelope.


Here is a message from our friend Mike Moore that was posted on the Flourish Forum. If you see any adds for stamps at less than face value - it's a scam. Don't fall for it. The local guy -here in DSM- who sells old stamps at less than face value does not advertise. You have to know him personally to know of his bags of discount stamps. You do not get to choose what you want. 

Do not buy forever stamps on eBay (or anywhere else) that are listed at anything close to 50% off--they are counterfeit. The Chinese and others have been flooding eBay with counterfeit stamps with increasing frequency of late. They look just like genuine US stamps but are on slightly different paper and, most tellingly, are not tagged. For 40+ years, the USPS has tagged it's stamps, which is an application of ink that can be read with low frequency UV light but is invisible in visible light, which is how the sorting machines know where the stamp is on the envelope (and not be confused by various stickers, etc.), to orient the envelope cancellation. 
I know all this, as I recently bought a few sheets of the African daisy international postage stamp for a recent exchange (I had some from the PO but needed more), and tested them with my low frequency UV light, and revealed they had no tagging (different paper, also). I reported this to eBay, and they said they'd look into it, but probably didn't, as they make money on the thousands of counterfeit items--shoes, artwork, so much more--whether or not it's counterfeit. I also contacted the fraud division of the USPS and they were, naturally, quite interested, as this is a big problem for them. They sent me a package of forms and requested all the info I had on it, including the photos I took of the bogus stamps.

Now some stamps on eBay are legitimately sold at a discount--namely older, lower denominations which most people don't use and that are not rare.

Discounts can range for 10-25% sometimes. Under US Stamps, search "postage" and you'll see what I mean.

Here is a photo (click to enlarge) of a real stamp (top) and one of the counterfeit ones (bottom). See the tagging around the center of the top one? And the difference in the paper? Even the shape is different--the real stamp has a wavy edge, the fake one is perfectly round.

Monday, September 26, 2022

From Alessandra in July. More postal questions

This is such a fun envelope. I'm not sue if there is a message. I like the cartouche (outline around the address. I like the penmanship. I especially like the red line with info below. Even though that space is where the bar code goes - I like having something written there. I need to research and find out if the barcode is printed with *magic* ink that is read by scanners. 

It doesn't make sense that people would need to read it. When am I going to get my postal questions answered? It seems like there are more and more questions popping up. If anyone knows of a place that tells us everything we need to know about the USPS - please share.


During the conversation about why I get mail with no cancellation marks, my son suddenly remembered that he had heard (at the end of a recent shift) what the *count* was. The *count* is the amount of mail that had been processed on that shift. 70,000 pieces of mail. He did the math - 60-cents x 70,000 = $42,000. He was impressed - because that was just the letters. Some of that mail might have been bulk rate - I did not think to ask him. I think the bulk rate mail is processed somewhere else. I think the people who process bulk mail are the only ones who work normal hours - 8-5, five days a week. But, I could be wrong about that. 

The USPS makes a lot more on packages and express mail than they do on letters. While 60-cents per letter seems like a lot - we should all be happy that we can still send something for 60-cents. It's not like there is any other way that would happen. FedEx and UPS and even Amazon would never be able to get into the letter delivery business.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Bonus post - scroll down for today's post

 Ruth has a question on today's envelope about the non-conforming stamp placement. I hastily responded by adding to the blog - and said I would research the issue of reusing uncanceled stamps. It was a very easy search and we will delve into this topic a little more - at a later date.

I just wanted to insert this info here - instead of adding it to the previous post. I'll be reviewing all the other *posters* and posting updates:

Poster 5 - Warning - Reusing Postage 
July 2005



Once a postage stamp has been used, it is a federal crime to:

1. Remove, attempt to remove, or assist to remove cancellation marks from postage.
2. Reuse a stamp whether cancelled or not.

If you have questions concerning the reuse of postage, please contact your local Postal Inspector.

Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 471 and 1720

Poster 5 July 2005
PSN 7690-03-000-9182

Leslie left a comment (below) - wondering about re-using an uncanceled stamp as part of the design and also adding a new stamp. I think the safe thing to do would be to draw a line across the reused stamp. Hopefully, I can have a meeting with a postal inspector and get some answers. I'd leave this in a reply to the comment - but, I am still trying to figure out why I can't make comments on Blogger.

Who sent this one? Debbie?

 I can't figure out where this envelope is - and I can't remember who sent it. There is nobody with a Carol Stream, IL address - and the only one who is even close is Debbie. Maybe Debbie will drop me an email and let me know if it's from her. It's a really nice design - arts & crafts - and it looks really nice with that stamp. I would not have thought of that combination.

It's a great way to use the broad edge markers. Once again - keeping the stamp away from the corner gave the post office a chance to add to the design. The words above the stamp are nicely centered over the stamp. I even like the way the bar code is hidden by the design. Although, I wonder if that's a problem for the machines.

I wonder if that barcode is always exactly the same distance from the bottom edge. If it is, it would be fun to create a border that incorporated the barcode. Caterpillars come to mind.

One more thing that I really like about this one is the relaxed feel. There is a little bleeding. The spaces between the marks vary. It is not overly regimented, but it is still geometric. Balanced. That's what I like. Organized enough to feel composed, but relaxed enough to feel like it was fun to do.

There is a question from Ruth (about placement of the stamp) - and I can't figure out how to leave a comment - so will answer here. The USPS requests that the stamps be put in the upper right corner. That is the most efficient way to get the mail through the system. When the stamp is not in that corner, it may delay the process - but unconventional placement of the stamp does not fall into the category of *undeliverable.* 

If you ask postal workers what they think of rogue placement of stamps - you will get a variety of answers. Some are sticklers for the rules and bark at the customers. Others love the idea of mail art and appreciate the extra revenue it generates.

If people peel off uncanceled stamps and try to reuse them, that is probably prohibited. I will do some research and find out what they do to people who try to reuse stamps.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

From Leslie in July - Skateboard video

I love notebook paper - and so does Leslie. She's a big fan of neon colors - as am I. There will be another one in a different color or maybe it already ran. That stamp is perfect.

Every time I think I am done with the skateboarding topic - something else pops up. This is a very clever video that has a technique for showing how many times these people will fling themselves through the air to  learn their tricks. Danny Gregory posted it on his weekly letter - so maybe you have already seen it. If not - I think it is a lovely illustration of how persistent one must be to *learn a trick.* Or maybe you just want to make a pretty capital D. It's all the same. Although, there are fewer bruises and broken bones in penmanship.

It's only a minute and a half.

If you scroll down to Wednesday of this week - I accidentally *posted* a post in the past. I did not know you could do that. It's about an older post that created a huge spike in the views. It includes envelopes by Lynne and Rachael. And - they are both good steal worthy ideas for anyone who is starting their holiday mail early this year.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Bonus post - workshop

Scroll down past this for the regular daily post.

One of our exchangers sent this info about a workshop that says is a free online event.

It also says the early bird fee is $29 -- so if you are interested, you need to figure it out what is free and what isn't. Maybe you can watch it for free - but if you want a link to watch it on your own - you have to pay either $29 or $69. 

*** Thanks, CJ - she left a comment that -yes- you may watch the workshop for free - and if you want a link to re-watch or watch later - you pay for that option.

The instructors include some very well known calligraphers and book artists.

Here is the link:

Sharon's July fish - USPS machines

 This is probably watercolor - so pretty - and the white dots make it pop. I don't know if this is an accurate rendering of a particular fish or a fantasy fish. Either way - those dots are spectacular. 

But, wait. There's more.

Sharon's September envelope knocked my socks off. You will see it in October.

I asked my postal worker son why at least once a month I get an envelope and the stamp is not cancelled. Sometimes the cancel is in the lower left corner. But sometimes there is no cancellation at all.

He said that the machines that cancel the mail are cooler than heck. They send the mail through, and if the scanner can see a stamp and *read* the address and the stamp - then a bar code is printed on the envelope and it proceeds. If the scanner doesn't see what it needs, it will flip the envelope over - top to bottom and send it through again. If that doesn't work, it will flip the envelope front to back and try again. Here is the cool part. The flipping happens so fast - you can't see it. One of the older guys showed him that you have to take a video of it (with your phone) and then watch it in slow motion.

I think he said that if the machine can't read an address and detect a stamp the envelope gets sent to people who do something. But, I do not recall exactly what he said.

So, he did not answer my question. I do not know if he is going to research this for us. At one point he said, "We HATE magnets! Don't mail magnets. They stick to the machines and mess everything up."

I've seen Save the Dates that are printed on magnets. I hope that trend has passed.

And, yes, there are places where they fill up the ink so he said that might be a possibility - but he really had no idea.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

From SMASH in July - Mary & Patch IG

Super fun layout. Stealworthy. One of those stamps I wish I had more of. 
There is a Netflix documentary about the disastrous attempt to have another Woodstock - in 1999. I was only so-so interested in it - and I had no recollection of the event. Disaster is putting it mildly. I only recommend it if you are too tired to do anything - but it is too early to go to bed - and you need something mindless.

And for the collage people and the quilt people - here is an IG account which feature stamps in the collages. It is a spin off from another account by the same woman - which is more about quilting. She lives in Switzerland - so there are some nice scenes, too.

Maryline's quilt IG. and below is the link to the collages with stamps. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Those two envelopes with the most views

Once in a while I check the stats on the blog. There is a graph that shows a huge spike at a certain date. That date (Nov 30, 2016) had this image. Top envelope is from Lynne and bottom one from Rachael. I also know that I have seen this image on Pinterest nuuuuuumerous times. So, I don't actually know how that graph works. I don't think that this image just happened to go viral on that date. We will probably never know how the Google tracks my blog. If someone from the Google wants to contact me and explain it, I'm all ears.

Here is the graph showing - All time [Views] - 

It looks like there was a bit of a surge through the covid years. And, sadly, the latest thing I read said we are headed for another surge -- but I can't imagine there will be another shut down that even approximates that first one.

The really curious thing about the original post with those two envelopes - is that I wrote two sentences. The first one was a thank you and the second one called these two steal worthy. Link to original post

I looked at the envelope that was posted on the second tallest peak and it's not one that I have ever seen pinned anywhere -- so, I have no idea how the Google tracks things.

For newer readers - Wilma Bustell (on Rachael's envelope) was my mom. I'd put her name on the list once in a while so that she would get fun mail. I've pondered sending a fancy envelope to that address, and addressing it to Occupant - since I have no idea who is living there currently. But, I don't think anyone sends junk mail to *Occupant* any more - so they might not get the joke.


From JeanR in July--- Stinkin' badges

If you saw an actual clothesline envelope yesterday (to Leslie) it was in the process of being pre-written and will show up in October with all the other actual clotheslines.

I think JeanR told me what the inspiration was for this lettering - she might have taken a class. It's a perfect style with that stamp. It is also one of the best examples of running out of space and stacking the last two letters I have seen. It's very hard to stack the last two and not have it jump out as an oops. This one is so perfectly integrated that it looks like it's exactly what she intended -- so maybe she did intend it and it was not a run-out-of-space maneuver.


During the recent trip down memory lane (through some 2017 posts) - there have been so many ideas that were just lovely - and gave me some good ideas to start the September envelopes. I also stumbled across one of those lines from a movie (or so I thought) that burbles up from time to time. 

Finnbadger left a comment telling us the origin of the quote (on the 8-19-2017 post). I do not remember reading it. Thanks Finnbadger. I was delighted to hear that the quote I was so fond of actually came from a B Traven book. I only own about 10 books - and one of them is a collection of short stories by B Traven. 

If you liked the line from Blazing Saddles - We don't need no stinking' badges - you might enjoy reading the original -- it's a magnificent rant. My version is: We don't need no stinking' fonts.*

* We don't need no stinking' fonts because we know how to write better than fonts - if none of this made sense.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

From JeanR in Aug - USPS Operation Santa

This was my August exchange from JeanR - and she included a very pretty J. Will I ever get my nibs and inks out? Every time I see these - I am sure that I will and then real life intervenes. Not complaining. Just noting. 

Karl sent me the name of the condition I might have: 

Timbromania definition: a mania or passion for stamp collecting

He coined his own word:
philatocancellatiophiliamania:  an obsessive love for cancelled stamps bordering on pathology

I responded with:
I found the word - inrita - in an English to Latin website --
How about philatoinritamania ?

Thank you, Karl.


Alert readers will detect that this is not a previously written blurb. I bumped one because during my search for philatelic terms, I found - and saw a posting for USPS Operation Santa. I think I wrote about it last year - because I did not find out about it soon enough to participate. The USPS has a program where they match people who are willing to send a gift in response to a child who writes a letter to Santa.

You may read all about it - and I will post a reminder on Nov 28 - in case anyone is interested in a random act of kindness. I'm hoping there will be a least one kid who wants art supplies.

There are two more links at the above link to the actual USPS.


Monday, September 19, 2022

To Ming in August - Memory lane

I was determined to make better olive branches - and these were fine. There is  very light blue scalloped set of lines on the hair in the stamp which I started to add - but, it wasn't working so I erased it. This lettering is so-so. The MW initials should be fun to work with - but, so far, I haven't come up with something to my liking. It's also hard to get the right shades of blue - that navy is sooooo dark.

On Sept, 1st, when Mary signed up for the exchange, she mentioned that she was interested in working on her lettering skills. I suggested she do a [search] on this blog for *exemplar* - and then I did a search. And it was so much fun - seeing old styles. One of the last posts that popped up was from Dec 3, 2014. It was half funny/half sad to see that only 4 years into the blog, I had such a good idea - and then 8 years after that - I had gone nowhere with my good ideas.

Here is an excerpt from nearly 8 years ago. It's about more than exemplars - but, it highlights that very little has changed in the past 8 years - including issues with my memory.

I have figured out how to resolve all my *issues.*
1. am able (happy) to let go of beloved stamps
2. have new *filing system* whereby we will all know everything that i know and we will be able to access it
3. i forgot number three - but i am sure it will come to me.

implementation will be as follows:
1. new improved nibs and ink blog to include every single handout and exemplar in my stash so that we can all find them when we need them.
2. new blog called Art for the Intimidated - which will cover all the other lessons that are not specific to lettering

 There was more - but this is quite enough. Maybe even too much.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

7 Title IX envelopes in August

After all the problems on my 20 envelopes for the August exchange, I decided I needed to just pick one idea and finish up the list. I had some really nice. envelopes in the orphan pile. Strathmore and Crane's. Committing to one idea is a good way to get them done without obsessing and they are in order of how I did them.

I tried to do the olive branch on the first one and it's horrific. So, I ditched that idea - and figured they would be fine without any yellow - so Janet didn't get any yellow. But when I did her crossbars, I realized I could put a pop of yellow on the cross bars -- so Mary's was looking better - even though she only had one yellow dot.

Rachael had more dots and I really liked the name hitting both the west coast and the east coast. Sharon's was fine - although I had to grrrr at myself for not doing a yellow dot between the names and I could have dotted the i. Susan's turned out nicely - and then I probably like Kate's best because I decided to get a little looser and bouncy.

Tomorrow we will see what happened when I had to use the Title IX stamp that did not have red.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

To Lynne in August

This one came so close to being ditched. I wasn't sure the white gel would be permanent enough on the shimmer envelope and black didn't seem post office scanner friendly - so I pulled out my white sticker paper. The address label might have been fine if I had not used such a bold pen. But -- it was awful. Then I thought about outlining it - and that led to outlining the stamps - which is something Janet does quite often - and I always forget to do it. So it was a big sign of relief that it actually looked OK. Once again, the red is muddy. Grrrr. But happy with the stamps and general *fun-ness.*

Note to self: do a follow up post about the whole outlining situation. 

Followup to note to self. Sadly, I do not recall what the outlining *situation* is/was. I've always used outlining when I think an envelope needs something else. 


Friday, September 16, 2022

To Amy in August - that love-of-stamps situation

 Clearly I was using up all the orphan colored envelopes. The lavender envelopes looked great with these stamps. So, I tried silver - which worked out nicely. The red is muddy. Grrrr.

Are there any mental health professionals who read the blog? I was just sifting through a box of stuff - ephemeral stuff. Ephemeral means that it is not meant to last for --- for how long? Let's Google. 


  1. Lasting for a markedly brief time.
  2. Having a short lifespan or a short annual period of aboveground growth. Used especially of plants.

OK - markedly brief is vague. Compared to what? Get to the point, Jean. 

I was sifting through my stuff that *might be useful for something.* This is a huge issue for people who make things out of other things. We save stuff that might be useful. Recently, I discovered that my friend Jan is on a binge of collaging - so, I have been passing some of my stuff along to her. It's fun to watch someone else ooh and aaah over things that I have been treasuring for years. Some of it is dated. Some of it has been in a pile for 30 years. Time to let go.

But, then I came to some cancelled stamps. Here is where I am seeking mental health advice. What is it about stamps that makes my internal dialogue tell me that I must have a disorder? I'm not dangerous. But why does it feel so weird? I can't even think of a way to word this for a Google search. If anyone has any insider info - please share. Feel free to email me directly - or leave a comment. 

I will report back if I get a dozen emails from people who assure me that they have the same thing. And, good news for Jan, I put all the stamps in the stack headed to her house. Maybe I can get her to share photos of the stuff she makes.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

To Chuck and Cathy in August

Remember that really simple silver on silver envelope to Carolyn that I liked. I did it after I did this one. And the CathyO below was done before the Chuck. I was not pleased with Cathy's at all - even though the stamps were so pretty. I actually liked Chuck's a lot - even though it was fairly simple. I think the thing that throws me so often with Cathy is the T. I was fine with how I chunked out Cathy's 5 letters - but - wished I had proportioned them so that they went from edge to edge and were committed to being 5 equal squares or rectangles.

Cathy's might have been better if I had gotten some actual paint out... markers get so muddy.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

To April in August - circle posters

Here is another envelope that was saved by the monster stamps. I had penciled in the letters - and didn't know where to go - then found the stamp, which seemed perfect. Then - the first layer of pink colored pencil was way too peachy. It's amazing how colors that are just slightly off can be soooo bad. Luckily, the second layer of pink fixed it.


After strolling through the parking lot, I went into the museum to check out the current exhibit. It was OK - nothing that really inspired me. I did like the stack of posters that were a help-yourself exhibit. Anyone who wants a poster may take one and they will keep printing more as long as people are taking them. I need to go back and read the blurb on the wall (what do you call those blurbs?) to see if there was any suggestion. The post has two circles and is based on a piece hanging on the wall that is two metal circles.

What the stack of posters looks like.

I pulled one off - to illustrate helping myself to a poster.

Those two metal circles on the wall were the inspiration for the poster. I guess I should go back and read the blurb and at the very least, give you the artist's name. My most sincere apologies for being a worthless art educator. Maybe it's because those two circles on the wall do not intrigue me at all. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

To Patty in August - Little Free Gallery

This one was harder to read before I added all the orange outlines. It was much nicer when it was slightly less legible - but there is no going back with colored pencils. Patty used to be a docent at the museum where I taught. I wonder if she has seen the latest addition at the museum - near the parking lot.

It's like those little free library boxes that people put in their front yards. Only it is for art. If I run across any fun little art that I don't need, I'll be happy to donate some. Does anyone else have one of these in their neighborhood?

This photo is distorted because I shot it through the glass.
So, I opened the door.

Someone put their ads for their yard service in there.
I don't think it belongs - but, I didn't think I was the one to remove it.
I don't think acorns qualify either -- unless one were to gild them or inscribe them with some lovely lettering.


Monday, September 12, 2022

To Leslie in Aug - PSA - pocket voice mails

Leslie was the only one who requested this style when I offered it to the exchangers in the Aug sign-up. I was surprised that  it was not more popular. The letters in Leslie's name are mostly angular and a bit repetitive - so, it did not turn out as cute as I was hoping. I actually thought it was a complete dud - until I went looking for a stamp and then -voila- so cute.

Here is another PSA. If you are at the grocery store and you feel like there is a voice following you around. Look in your purse or pocket and see if it is your phone. It will be asking you if you would like to send your voice mail. Then, when you try to click on [Cancel] beware - you might actually send it and then - because aliens are running our phones, it will hide the whole thing and you will not know to whom you accidentally sent a voice mail that was recording all the conversations that you have recorded at the grocery store - or - heaven forbid - some other kind of conversation that you would not want sent to the last person you called. 

I hope you get the gist of how unsettling this is to know that your phone can just start recording your conversations and then trick you into sending them. Luckily, I was able to find MrWilson and get him to delete the voicemail - without looking like I was trying to hide something - I'm lucky that he had another voicemail that he was more interested in. 

This is even more important PSA - don't put your phone in the cup holder while you are driving if the button on the side is one of those SOS buttons. 911 responders are reporting a lot of accidental calls from phones in cup holders and they are required to follow up on every call - so it wastes their time. I have done some inept volume changing that brought up a screen asking me if I truly needed 911 - so, I'm rather nervous about how those buttons work. I had no idea that I had an SOS button. <sigh> I was planning on just asking Siri for help. 

And I do not have an Apple Watch - but they even have a feature that detects falling and if you do not respond to the alert asking you if you are OK - they will either call your In-Case-of-Emergency person and if that person does not answer, they will send rescue people.

Sorry this is so long - I'll be brief tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

To Chuck/Janet/Jessica in July

I had second thoughts about sending this through the mail so I tucked it inside another envelope. I also didn't get the rubber stamp at the right angle - but it's sorta cute - and I like white space. 

I can't remember if I posted this one -- more clothesline caps. The name and the birds seemed awkward - so I just put this in her other envelope. I've been using up my square envelopes by folding them over. This might have been OK if there had been a coordinating stamp. Wait til you see the uber-cool chicken/nest envelope from Janet that's coming up.

That band of lettering might have looked OK if it had turned into a fence. Or maybe it needs to be a horizon line behind the birds.

Another one that might have been posted --- pretty colors - so-so layout.

*** Real time.
PSA: we are on day two of a fierce battle with a bat or maybe two bats. 
It is not going well.
Anyone who wants to be prepared for bats should have some kind of net thing on hand. Previously, I have just opened the front door and turned on the porch light - and they exit. 
Not this time.
And whatever you do - do NOT research anything about bats. You do not want to find out that rabid bat bites are on the rise.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

To Carolyn in Aug -- Map game

I assumed that this one would need more than this basic double stroke, square lettering. But when I found that stamp, I was so pleased with it that I didn't think it needed anything else. The envelope is the last silver shimmer from the stack of orphans. Sadly - the marker I picked up for the address was getting dry - so that part wasn't the best -- and the photo does not capture how much the silver lettering changed when the envelope was tilted in the light. [I found more orphans - used them in the Sept exchange - wish I had done more of this silver Sharpie. The main reason I stay away from Sharpies is that the odor makes me a bit queasy.]


Here is a fun game that nobody else liked, but I did. My older son was in town for a 20 year HS reunion. On the last day, he was restless and the younger son was joining us for a meal - and the conversation was going nowhere. So I gave everyone a paper and pencil and told them to write the names of all 50 states - and we'd see who could do it fastest. The boys both went to Montessori and between 3 and 6 - they were fascinated with maps of the world.

They were not eager to play my map game - but they humored me. I had fun. Three of us forgot Minnesota. Two of us forgot Nebraska. Bizarre that we would forget our neighbors. Then we checked off which states we had visited. Then we got into a big debate whether transferring planes in a state counts as actually visiting the state. We had to include a third category besides [yes] or [no]. I think we called it [layover]. 

Note to self: adult children do not like pop quizzes. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

To Jessica in Aug -- Strength book

I usually write Jessica's last name small - same size as the address. But once in a while I see if I can fit it into something interesting. It was prettier on the vellum, without anything inside. Below shows it with the white paper filler. These envelopes need to feature their design element on whatever goes inside. I have a marker that is specifically for vellum - and the neon is just regular gel pen. It was fun to do a non-dotty design with the dotty stamp - just to be a bit unexpected.

And then I realized that Jessica has an August birthday - so I wrote happy - many times - and *birthday to you* on the R.


Is it annoying when I read books and then talk about them? I resisted saying anything about a couple, but my latest one is about managing the inevitable decline as we age. 

Most people, when asked, "When does *old* happen?" reply -- 85. The average lifespan is mid 70's - so people generally die before they perceive themselves to be *old.* 

My brother has mentioned several times over the years that most of the really significant breakthroughs in science and math and whatnot are made by people who are quite young. Studies confirm that elderly geniuses do not usually come up with brilliant discoveries late in life. In fact, studies show that most people generally peak in their 40s and the downhill slide happens in the early 50s, even though nobody wants to acknowledge that.

And who fares the worst? Professional athletes - they usually peak much earlier - and can struggle with figuring out a meaningful existence after their peak. Other people who struggle are those who were acknowledged to be very bright and successful in their youth. *Average* people often handle aging and decline more gracefully.

Where am I going with this? I'll let you know if the author even mentions artists -- but, IMHO - art is the one place where many people ride the wave of ups and downs. It's an activity/career that *ages* gracefully. There are plenty of artists (in all disciplines) who have had longevity with their creativity.

From Strength to Strength by Arthur C Brooks - is the book I am *reviewing.*


I forgot to pay attention - and now I do not recall if he covered art. Sorry. While it was somewhat interesting, it is not a book that I highly recommend. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

CJs Clothesline Caps - Quiltville Inn Retreat

At long last, here is the inspiration envelope that got me off on the Clothesline Caps binge. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest to do more of it. This is from CJKennedy - who kindly sent me some of the cardinal stamps when I needed some in Dec of 2020. She also sends very helpful comments on topics from time to time. I do not recall if I ever sent a thank you for the stamps - so, act surprise CJ - when you get an envelope from me.

I'm still waiting to hear from Carol Pallesen with the full story on Clothesline Caps - and who gave them that name. Trust me -- it'll show up one of these days.


Here is Bonnie's inn/retreat in Mouth of Wilson, VA. I've spent way too much time wandering around the street view of Wilson Creek and surrounding areas. Bonnie runs this inn and groups (up to 12 people) can reserve it for workshops, retreats, whatever. There are many nice photos at the website. There are a couple really nice calligraphy retreat places. Cheerio in NC (I think) and Ghost Ranch in NM. But no envelope retreats. I wonder where I could build one. Maybe the Holiday Inn across from O'Hare - one of the perks of living in Chicago is that it has direct flights to sooooo many places - and it is centrally located.

Quiltville Inn Retreat website


Yesterday - the article about the woman who slipped and fell on the flyer popped up again. It's NYTimes - and they only allow 3 free articles per month.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Leslie to Lina - more falling

I have a couple leads on what happened to the daily alert/link to the blog that some of you had - that has gone missing. It will take me a while to pass along alternatives because these technical things are beyond my skill set.

I need to appropriate this idea - the part with the name filling in the triangle. I'm pretty sure I have done some of my own designs writing the same name over and over - but, I'd be surprised if I ever did it on an angle. I'd probably put the address level with he bottom of the envelope. 

Nobody wants another public service announcement - especially about falling. This one is really sad - someone (the fall-er) will probably never get back to where she was - before she slipped and fell on dog-drool. I don't have any additional details. Just a public service announcement for those who have dogs. 

And then -- a really well written story written by a woman who left her apartment and slipped and fell on a slick-paper flyer that was on the floor. I think she shattered her knee cap. When she called her husband to tell him about the fall and injury, he asked her if it was a flyer for a specific business. Yes - he had seen the flyer on the floor when he left earlier - but just left it there. Grrr to the Nth degree.

I wish I could include a link to the whole story - it was so well written - and I have searched - but can't find it. Sorry. Just be careful.