Friday, March 31, 2023

Jean's cheesy highlighters and a cool fence

These two were hiding. I am 99% sure that they have not been posted. Obviously they were done by me for my February mailing. I'll spare you the details about what was going on in February - these are my neon highlighters. While they have been fun, I might be getting close to tossing them. I'm OK with the idea behind these two - layering loopy words can be lovely - but I need something better than ancient highlighters. Maybe I should build some kind of shrine in the back yard --- See below.


While on my last trip to Chicago, my daughter and I walked the granddaughter to ballet and then we told the grandson that we would walk over to *that park with the tall climbing thing.* My daughter is a repeat offender at telling me that it will be *a couple blocks* and it ends up being 6 or 7 blocks. 

Many years ago - after one very difficult trip downtown where we kept adding on *a couple blocks* and we had my 80+ year old mother with us -- eventually I said, "FINE! We can go * a couple more blocks* - but we are taking a cab back to our car." When I got back to Des Moines, I printed out a map of downtown Chicago and numbered the blocks - we had walked 19 blocks ---- grrrrr. 

So here we were -- walking *a couple blocks* and she keeps looking at her phone and I finally catch on -- and say - "You have no idea where this park is, do you?" Sheepish look. I pull out my phone and see that we are parallel with Trader Joe's. That is much further than a couple blocks. Grrrr.

I assure her that at any point I can call an Uber if I feel like it -- and we proceed. I was so glad that I kept going because in the middle of all the brick and wrought iron and aluminum and whatever kind of fences you see everywhere in Chicago -- I discover an exquisite *found branch* fence. It was so worth the trip. 

I didn't take time to inspect the fence and see how things were held together. It looks like there might have been a sturdy center post within the grouping of smaller branches. Maybe something metal that would be easier to drive into the ground.

6 year old boy included for scale.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

For Jennifer from Janet + a puzzle

There's a story that went with this one --- it is from Janet -- and since she sent the one I posted yesterday - I figured this one was for me. I could not figure out what that name was - so I opened it. Inside was a complicated (for me - most people would probably find it easy to follow) set of instructions for substituting letters - a code. Or maybe it is a *key.* Whatever you call it -- the first name/word is Jennifer. I felt very inept at not realizing it immediately with the double-a - that is obviously the double-n in Jennifer. 

And now I can't remember what the second word is - and I have already sent it along to Jennifer -- But it was so clever and I am so annoyed with myself that I did not take pictures of the enclosures --- grrrr. I guess I was just quick to put it all back together - since it was Jennifer's mail.

Thank you USPS for putting the cancel in the lower left. I love the stamp - and did not get any of those for myself - grrrrr.

OK - I figured it out -- it says Jennifer Wilson -- clearly my aptitude at puzzles is impaired....

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

From Janet to Jennifer - size and spacing opinions

That's a lovely repeat of the heart on the i with the stamp and the big heart on the left. It looks like a necklace. That's a clever way to draw the viewers eye around the envelope - instead of just letting the big heart sit there -- in space. And then it wraps around to all kinds of fun on the back.

When you see the 3 hearts - that's what's known as hierarchy. It's a design principle that is used all the time, everywhere. You see it a lot in interior design. In mixing fabrics - designers will choose a small scale print or stripe or plaid - with a medium scale print/stripe/plaid and a large scale print/stripe/plaid - and the rest will be solid. I'm not saying this is a rule -- it's just an option. 

Here's a detail to note: She spelled out IOWA so that the two address lines are the same length. It's a minor thing - but it is something I usually contemplate with addresses. I also like how she bumped up the point size of the zip code. It would be fine if it were the same size and tighter with the street and city/state. She chose to make the zip a little bigger - and drop it down a bit. 

Either way would have been just fine -- the one thing that -for my eyes- would have been distracting - would have been if the zip code was not centered. With all the other elements on this envelope - I really like the consistency of the name/address/zip being centered. 

Of course, if you do not want to even think about the size and spacing of any of the elements on your envelopes - you are free to ignore the whole concept and just fling things willy-nilly. 


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

From Sharon to Jennifer - Cattie font

 This photo almost looks red - but it is hot pink. It is from Sharon - and it's a nice idea for a biz-size envelope. I think sometimes they are called No. 10. Or 9 -- or 11?  I used to know all the envelope sizes and lingo by heart -- but that info has faded away. I'm not too pleased that the USPS machinery chewed up the end...  I think 9-10-and 11 are all business sized envelopes - and the 9s are a little smaller - so they'd fit inside an 11 - for junk mail or bills that wanted to include a return envelope.

I was clicking through some fonts - looking for some ideas for my March envelopes - and saw this one. I love the g -- but I'm not sure I could make this work by hand. If anyone needs a free kitty-font - you may download it at

I guess I should look for a Doggie font. OK - 64 fonts with *dog* in the name - my favorite is Tuna and Hot Dogs on Rye. It's not a good font at all -- it just caught my eye because it has fun ideas for quirky, non-calligraphic lettering with curls and doo-dads.

Monday, March 27, 2023

From JeanR to Jennifer - counting letters in names

 JeanR has two nice J's on the envelope. The business sized envelopes are nice for longer names. When I was making up the lists for the March exchange - it was right at the time that I was grrr-ing at myself for always messing up Lauren's name with her 6 letters - but starting out like I only had 5 letters to work with. So, I got curious - about the number of letter in the frequent exchangers.

It's possible that this is of no interest to anyone - but - it's my blog - so I get to jabber about whatever random topic pops into my head. Here is the breakdown:

3-letters:  Amy Mia —2

4-letters: Jean(R&W) Kate Ming Mary Troy —6

5-letters: April Cathy Chuck Grace Irene Janet Lynne Patty Smash/Susan —9

6-letters: Gloria Lauren Leslie Maggie Nanski Sharon —6

7-letters: Carolyn Jessica Valerie —3

8-letters:  Samantha —1

We would add Smash to the 3-letter group - when she is Sue.

Gloria and Leslie - don't always take up a full 6 spaces because of their l and i.

I'm not going to cover the last names -- just a quick shout out to Wu and Schwessinger - it always *makes my day* when I come up with something that works for shortest (2) and longest (12).

As I have mentioned (many times) when we ponder our struggles with spacing -- the simple answer is pencil -- as if I need to say that again.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

From Janet to Peggy - oooops

 This was supposed to run on April 26th - but I didn't have the right date plugged in. Hopefully people will scroll down and see it.

From Grace to Jennifer - at least we are trying

This is from Grace - and I am very curious if she wrote the colorful name first and then layered the black over the top -or- did she write the black name and then layer it with the colors. I'm thinking I will try it each way - and see what happens. There are also come nice sparkly swirly flourishes. The colors in the stamps offered a good direction - since they complement each other.

Part of the fun of this design are those two *dots* on j and i. Those little details can be *the cherry on top.* 

When April rolls around, there will be some envelopes I did for the March exchange that did not please me at all. I loaded them into posts - and will go back to write the blurbs. I'm not looking forward to that part - but this popped up on Instagram - and it is a good reminder that puttering around with stuff that does not turn out beautifully might steer me towards something better. I'm not linking to the account that this came from because it's not one that I follow - so I don't want to link to anything unless I feel like it is worthwhile - or has something to offer.

Now I'm having second thoughts about this. Is it giving us permission to just be bumbling fools? It goes against Yoda - who reminds us: Do or don't do. There is no try. I'm pretty sure he was not talking about his penmanship practice. However - I recall experiencing some Yoda-esque behavior when people would produce an entire page that where they weren't making progress. It can be hard to see what needs to be fixed and then FIX it - in the following letter. This is hard to explain in words ..... but I keep trying.....

Saturday, March 25, 2023

From CathyO to Jennifer - new stamps

This is a perfect envelope for Cathy's blacklettering. And it's really cool how the bar code fit in so nicely. I'm writing this only a week ahead of when it will pop up - because I lost track of some posts that had envelopes but no jabbering. Now I am in a quandary. How much is the right amount of jabbering?

We are nearing the end of March and there has been very little progress on the 2023 goal which was going to be posting more exemplars with more ideas on lettering. I did have a tutorial with MrWilson - where he showed me how easy it was to send my exemplars through his scanner. So - that's a tiny bit of progress. 

In the meantime - I hope those of us who have been dealing with weather will be enjoying some springtime. Some of us are content to just wait for the issuing of the new postage stamps. How excited are we for the *Thinking of You* stamps and the Roy Lichtenstein stamps? Or maybe sailboats? 

If you have forgotten what's coming -- here they are:

These are the Thinking of You stamps

Friday, March 24, 2023

From Lynne to Jennifer - from Jean to Maggie

Lynne kindly sent to both Jennifer and me in February. Sadly - Jennifer got the evil grease pencil mark. It's not a Sharpie. It is definitely a grease pencil. Grrrr. Further evidence that envelopes mailed on the same day at the same station can take wildly different trips through the postal system.

I think this is a stray - that looks a lot like one I already posted that had a wonky name. This one turned out a little better. I used watercolor pencils. 

There is no add-on today -- I've cut back on my surfing time.


Thursday, March 23, 2023

From Grace - signature style article


Here is Grace's envelope from February - so pretty. I wonder what Grace's signature looks like. And you are probably wondering why I am wondering that --- you will find out when you read the add-on - which is not off-topic at all. For anyone interested in  upping their design sense -- notice how she made a very short l in Wilson - so that she could keep the two names very tight. If the name was all in one line - the l would probably have been a bit taller - but it's perfectly legible - and the spacing between the two names is just perfect.


Here is a really fun article about penmanship people who have come up with a new career for themselves. They re-design signatures for people who recognize that their signatures are lacking in some way. IMHO the two biggest problems are illegibility and lack-of-??  I don't even know what to call it when a signature is lacking in ??what?? See - I can't find constructive words --- I do appreciate signatures that are very quirky - so, I'm not saying that they should conform to any particular style. 

I'll stop jabbering -- here is the article:

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

HB to the BHB - (from Mary) - March 22

 Happy Birthday BigHelpfulBrother.

Happy Birthday to my BigHelpfulBrother. I could recycle this by making it -- To: Jean Wilson's BigHelpfulBrother. Mary has used this style previously and I keep thinking I will get around to doing my version of it.

I need to find a way to store the design ideas that I think I could appropriate successfully. Thought bubbles are one of my favorite motifs - and I like that circle in the middle. Hopefully I'll remember to pull this out when I start the April exchange envelopes. So far this year, I have put John Hancock, Jennifer, and Peggy on the list for the envelopes coming to me. I'm tempted to keep putting alternative names on the list - so I have to think of who needs a stack of fun mail.....

For several weeks - I have had an actual birthday card (recycled) floating around my desk to send to the BigHelpfulBrother - and, of course, it has disappeared. Then there is the big box of cards that I need to send out into the world. Maybe I'll make myself use them on the April exchange. One of my dear pen pals that I met through this blog just sent me her stash of vintage stamps. She's moving and must have decided to do a bit of sifting. I should have done a video of me going through the stamps when they arrived -- there were some pretty *wow* moments. Let's hope I can do them justice. Spoiler alert - I did manage to do about 6 envelopes with nibs and ink for the March exchange - and they weren't too bad.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

From Kate to Jennifer - Quilted hearts


This is lovely combination of vintage stamps. I do not recall those 52-cent stamps. They must have been part of a set of two that coordinated for 1-oz and 2-oz mail - for wedding invitations and RSVP envelopes. And the USPS gets two thumbs up for centering that cancel over the top. How does this happen? When are we going to get to the bottom of these cancelling options?


Here is something for the people who have fabric scraps and a bunch of time to kill. Someone started this whole *thing* where people leave small quilted hearts in random public places - with a tag sending them to the website. At the website - you can do a search for US states and countries where people have found a heart and then posted a photo of it to the website. It's fun to see where people are finding them. Only one in Des Moines. Lots in Iowa City, which does not surprise me. 

I have no idea if I will ever do this -- but the concept might appeal to to people who have fabric scraps -- and time.

Here is the one from Des Moines - and here is what the person who posted it wrote:


I was having a difficult week and I was out on my walk cold lonely and I happened to notice something pink and sparkly up ahead, I looked closer and it was a quilted heart. It’s absolutely beautiful, it really brightens my day. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful project with the community. Thank you to whoever made this. I sincerely appreciate it!

Here is another one that caught my eye because it looks like postage stamps.


I found my quilted heart after a very long, challenging week at work. I started to water an office plant and there it was attached to the plant. It was an affirmation that I am on the right journey and not to give up, as I had earlier considered. I try to brighten people’s days , and if lonely, make a connection that makes them smile and know that someone cares. Thank you to the person who left this. It brightened my day!

Monday, March 20, 2023

To Jennifer from Irene - *flow*


Here are some splendid flowers from Irene. She exchanged a few times and then I didn't hear from her. It was fun to find out that she was just on a *shifting* adventure. Shifting is the word that some people use for *moving.* I do not recall where I first heard it - but I like the sound of it....since so much of moving involves shifting things around in the new space to figure out how things are going to fit best. 

We are happy to have you back, Irene. I love how each petal looks like it is curved. Apologies for my broken record comment that I hope to get my brushes out one of these days. 


Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that when people are in 'flow' — which is basically a state of total absorption wherein the rest of the world falls away — they're happiest.

OK -- let's flow today. I'm wondering how long it took Mihaly's kids to learn how to write their last name.


I'm sorry I did not keep track of where I read that - I do so much reading - and so little sticks. If I were to make all the proper notations as I was reading and flipping over to the blog - it would take all the enjoyment out of both the blogging and the reading. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

From Carolyn to Jennifer - all the pangrams


Flowers for Jennifer from Carolyn.
I have no idea if anyone is interested in all of the pangrams that were submitted - but decided to run them. The fonts came through in a hodgepodge - and I apologize for not taking the time to fix them. I still like mine the best because it starts with minimum - which I think is a good word to use for warm up. I also like that the sentiment is appropriate to the activity of practicing and I like that all of the words are pretty normal words.

Someday - I might find a better word than lazy. That one seems like it was just stuck in there to use a z. If anyone wants to offer an edit with a good z-word - please do. But, please do not submit the word zeal. I don't care for that word. Have we ever talked about words that we like or dislike? Is there a name for that?


The list of all the pangrams submitted to the contest:

Calligraphy Inspired

The minimum daily requirement of calligraphy was just six hours of blackletter and five hours of lazy italics. – Jean Wilson

Jet black inky quills prove a hazardous mix, good fellow

– Gwyneth Hibbett

Calligraphy quiz demonstrates fab vixens know joy

– Annette Wichmann

Calligraphy (joyful vixen!) quickly grabbed me and zing, that was it.

– Sally Penley

The putzy monk quivered with joy as he fixed a big splotch.

– Sally Penley Also awarded: TOP Pick, Brevity, Best “Z” Word, and Humorous

For sexy scripts: Jaki’s book, quotes, brush, my EZ-A pen, text wove & gold. – Sally Penley, Best Tribute to Jaki Svaren

Feel-Good Pangrams

Creatively grow and make visible fixes for hope, zen, joy, equality.

– Phawnda Moore, Most Positive
The exotic jazzy dancers quickly provoked juicy behavior from the

gawkers. – Cate Smock, Most Titillating Wha Wha Whaaa!

To have zero knowledge of music or xylophone. Quick jab me!

– Yogi Grunwald, Most Self-Deprecating Queazy big walrus jumped in fake toxic hovel

– Annette Wichmann, Eww! Also awarded: Brevity

The knowing veterinarian prescribed a ‘healthy joints’ exercise regime for the dog and his quite lazy owner.
– Cate Smock, The Doctor Said

For the page2image1261679936of Pangrams To learn more, visit:

Word Play

Jumbo freewheeling texturized windsurfing pachyderms quit skydiving – Barbara Mann Also awarded: Best Adjective-Laden pangram and Most Awesome to Visualize

Go quick Jo! Ambidextrously phone Zev’s wife.

– Sarah Spencer, Fast-Action Pangram Also awarded: Brevity Hey, word syntax quiz becomes plagued by fake jive

– Annette Wichmann, Calling Out
Just sixty hopeful quibbling wizards evoke magical anxiety

– Barbara Mann, Word Combo Longest Word

Visualisierungsprofi20 letters

Visualisierungsprofi Jacky verwandelt mit flexiblen Stiften sü├če Tyopografie allmählich zu quasi fabulösen Kunstwerken.
– Katharina Bluhm


Visualization professional Jacky uses flexible pens to gradually transform sweet typography into almost fabulous works of art.

Best Pangrams Using Rare Letters

The zebra and giraffe enjoyed a meaningful conversation while exploring the murky quagmire– Cate Smock, Q

Zephyrs of vernal equinox sigh into my back window left ajar.
– Lindley McDougall, Z Also awarded: TOP Pick and Evocative

Early at dawn the oxmox Jack quilts big fuzzy vampeez.
– Franziska Schwarz, X Also awarded: Best Original Word, Best Tribute to Lewis Carroll & Jabberwocky

For the page3image1234210496of Pangrams To learn more, visit:

Literature Inspired

Even crazy quixotic knights joust fabulous gypsy windmills

– Katrina Malachowski Best Tribute to Don Quixote Jaywalking humpbacked wizard’s foxglove quest

– Barbara Mann Phantom of the Opera Special Just in time for the Super Bowl

Joyfully NFL football missed the running train at the zoo chicken pot pie and queen Victoria wanted a xylophone – Jeanette Green

Also wrote...

Violins play but the petals of dandelion bugs with zippers worn chill jam making quite an X that marks the spot Says it all

Tea and butter crackers with a lollipop breakfast give just quite a victory my Xerox yells from a long winter zzzz Morning Tea


My perfect cup of tea is like an inside out bath...just a sizzling quick way of exactly tricking my body without filling a vat
– Lynnie Wonfor Also awarded: Afternoon Tea

Sixth of July: morning haze quickly evaporates as bathers spread their towels. – Lindley McDougall, Poetic

For the page4image1261889888of Pangrams To learn more, visit:

More Nature Related

Autumn is quickly upon us for I have just raised the waxy cabbages.
– Karen Nordstrom Roberts Also awarded: Vegetarian's Delight

The graceful fawn quickly jumped over sixty hybrid zinnias.

– Phawnda Moore Also awarded: Beauty

The saxophone’s jazzy notes bounced quietly like fig leaves in the warm sun.
– Linda Lanza, Jazz Lover's Fave


Jumpy overexcited quickfire whistling zebra

– Barbara Mann Also awarded: Best Adjective-Laden Sketching a mixture of wispy overjoyed aqua fuzzballs

– Barbara Mann Funniest
Kitschy Rex just wore a VIP fez with quartz gems and bling.

– Sally Penley Best Red Carpet Attire

Jump, we zombies, and quickly exit fresh graves.

– Julie Wildman Also awarded: Top Pick, Memorable, and Most Ghoulish

More Top Picks

Justifiably quintessential wizard fixing overbaked microchips

– Barbara Mann Also awarded: Most Magical, Top Pick

Fuzzy bees hijack many exquisitely woven snapdragons

– Barbara Mann Also awarded: Best Nature Inspired, Zoographic, and Top Pick

Beneath a proudly waxing moon, frozen jack-o-lanterns quiver

– Lindley McDougall Also awarded: Top Pick For the page5image1262036800of Pangrams To learn more, visit:

Saturday, March 18, 2023

From Maggie to Jennifer - Pangrams


Love the LOVE stamps -- and a pretty flower - and more on the flip side of the envelope. In case you are not a follower of Maggie on IG - here is a link: Maggie's IG. I keep forgetting to ask Maggie how many hours a day she spends at her desk? Is she blessed with a spouse who enjoys taking care of meals and everything else that seems to use up a lot of time for the rest of us?


Back in January I saw an invitation to submit original pangrams to For the Love of Pangrams - but I didn't see it until the day after the deadline. I had written one pangram (long ago) that I love - and sent it in even though it was late. The organizers of the event were going to have a Zoom event to announce the winners on Valentine's Day. I have never Zoomed, but, I was interested - so I figured out how to Zoom and signed on. 

Imagine my surprise when my pangram was the very first one to pop up on the screen. I was not a winner and I agree with their choices for winners because they were more *artistic.* My pangram is purely functional. I wanted one that started with the word *minimum* and that had all useful and easy to spell words. For calligraphic or penmanship practice, I don't think the words should be eccentric and rarely used words - or hard to spell. 

Here is a link to the Zoom program:

LINK to For the Love of Pangrams

I will post the entire list tomorrow.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Mary, Mary, Richard Scarry - cake cutting


I'm guessing Mary's envelope is Richard Scarry inspired. I'd forgotten about his books which were favorites of mine when my kids were little. He created Busytown - and featured lots of details in his drawings. <pause> I had to check the spelling of his name and ended up reading all about him at Wiki. Do our Ridgefield, CT pen pals know that at one time he lived on a farm near Ridgefield? Then he moved to Europe and passed away in Switzerland.

The people of note who have lived in my neighborhood are: Bill Bryson, Cloris Leachman, Tiny Tim and Corey Taylor, the drummer for Slipknot. And I am only including homes that are within walking distance of my house. Although, as Steven Wright reminds us - EVERY place is within walking distance if you have the time. 

I wonder what the farthest I have ever walked is. Is there a difference between farthest and furthest?

Enough rambling - the add-on tidbit is brief - but if you want to up your cake cutting game:

How to cut a cake

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Chuck's Feb gnomes - paint rag shirt


As previously mentioned, Chuck works on his envelopes way ahead of time. I think this is one of his best - and I've been thinking that one of these months he might do a whole gnome family.  There are lots of them on Google images - this one is pretty cute - although I don't think Chuck has ever done a gnome with eyes....


This caught my eye. I am an introvert - but I am not going to this gathering. 
And yet, I'm curious. Maybe I can find someone who will check it out and report back. And I am annoyed with myself that I did not click on the [Learn more] button..... I wonder what it said.

If you can't read the fine print, it says: Love books and hate talking to people? Join like-minded readers as we sit quietly and read. Discussion optional and icebreakers forbidden. Bring your own book.

I wonder who monitors the gathering to make sure nobody gets chatty - or tries to break the ice - and what tactics do they employ if a rowdy extrovert shows up - just to make trouble. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Jennifer 3 - no excuses

I'm guessing that Smash used Bister inks on this one -- and I hope I am remembering the name of those inks. They are so perfect with the stamp. I like that J - as we all know - J's can be challenging. 

Try as I might - I have some lapses in the scheduled blog posts. The heading says *no excuses.* I suppose I could give reasons - but - at this point, I don't think there is much difference. 

There might be a few ho-hum posts without any interesting add-on topics. I don't even have any good excuses - 

There are five US states where the highest point of elevation does not exceed 1,000 feet. Can you name them?

Florida, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Jennifer 2 - Let's feel old.


This lovely envelope for Jennifer came from Ming. Her copperplate is so nice - and the flowers are beautiful. Since the envelopes to Jennifer have been delivered to her - I can't go back and look closely to see if the flowers are hand drawn or maybe imprinted. I can see that each one is different - so maybe Ming has 4 different flower stamps? There are different words for printing with plates or rubber stamping with stamps. Plates and stamps have multiple meanings --- ignore me - I am just babbling.


We knew this was coming - clothes from the 70's and 80's are the current hot trend for people who want to wear vintage clothes. Those of us who are in our 70s remember how much fun it was to go to 50's themed parties. Now it's all about the 70s and 80s. My daughter was telling me about going to an 80s prom themed party. 

Of course Chicago has some very cool vintage stores - and we have been to a couple. She found a new one that I might have to visit next time I am there - not to shop - just to look around. I am stunned by the prices on some of these items. It surprises me that people are enjoying this by-gone era again. It seems too recent.

The link will take you to page 4 - there are lots more pages - but this one had a good range of cute-to-ghastly. The items range from 1930s to 1980s.

LINK to Lost Girls Vintage

Monday, March 13, 2023

Jennifer 1 - How to surf.


Here is the first envelope to Jennifer. I put her name on the exchange list in February. She's the lovely postal worker who welcomed my son into the USPS family and is the type of team worker that everyone enjoys.  This one is from Mary and looks hand painted. I'm itching to get my paints out. Maybe in March?


Whilst skimming through news stories, I saw the one that said something about Phil Knight did not watch LeBron shoot his record breaking shot through his phone to snap a photo. And I clicked on it to see the photo. I was expecting to see some other guy named Phil who had been a coach. But it didn't look like the other Phil. So, I had to Google Phil Knight to see who he was -  because the name was familiar.

Well, duh, he's one of the co-founders of Nike - and I had read his autobiography and loved it. It was a wonderful story and I remember bits and pieces of it fondly. So, I scanned through the bio and saw the story of the creation of the Nike swoosh logo.

Oh.My.Gosh. I do not recall all the wonderful details being in his book. Go ahead and click on the story if you have a couple minutes.

LINK to article about the Swoosh design

If you have no interest or time - here are the highlights that made it such a fun story for me.

The designer was a student (1971) when Phil hired her to design the logo. Phil didn't really like it that much, but was under a time crunch, and said he figured it would grow on him. Quote from article:

 For her services, the company paid her $35, which, if adjusted for inflation for 2018, would be the value equivalent of about $217. In 1983, Phil gave her stock in Nike - valued at at least a million dollars. 

Back to Jean's comments: Isn't that a nice story?

LINK to longer article about SWOOSH

I think I already posted the story about how *Just do it* came to be. If you have lots of time today - here it is:

LINK to Just Do It article

And that - is how you surf. Within each link - there are more - and more and more topics. Of course, I never did come up with the last name of that other Phil who was a basketball coach. 

*** I usually read my posts a day or two before they run - so yesterday when I read this one, I remembered the other Phil - Phil Jackson. It's a bit of a relief when random information returns.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

To SMASH - Why and how to surf


Once again - the inspiration image is AWOL - so we can't compare. This envelope is one that I deconstructed and turned inside out. I had made about 3 mistakes on a set of envelopes that I addressed for someone in December. I loved the envelopes - they were from Tiny Prints - and disappeared into a stack of stuff - eventually - whilst clearing out the stash - I thought of trying the neon gel pens. It was a very nice tactile activity. The weakest part is the name in the circle. The second weakest are those 2 shark fins under the address. They should have been leafier. And - the rectangle stamp in the oval is clunky. But the rest of it was fun to do. 


Why do I surf? Because I am too lazy to just get up and get going as early as I wake up. I wake up at 5 am. If I got busy - I would need lunch around 9 and then supper around 2 or 3 - and then I still have 6 hours until 9 which is the soonest I go to bed - so I guess I need to spend some of that pre-bedtime leisure in the morning.

Also - I need to fill my blog - and no matter how hard I try to focus on art and fonts and design - my mind wanders because it's actually hard to put together thoughtful comments about art and design. 

So - I surf. I think I will split this into two topics - tomorrow I will give an example about how I started in one place and ended up finding one of those stories that just makes the surfing sooooo worthwhile.

I love a good cliffhanger. Or maybe it's a teaser. Either way - it's very good story. About an artist.


Teaser No. 2

The first PicklePie inspired envelope arrived yesterday and I love it so much I was tempted to bump a post so that I could run it right away - but - my new improved brain is more disciplined - so you will just have to wait until mid-April.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Feb from Kate --- Periodic table


Kate's tiny printing is always spot-on. I thought the border might be a sticker - but it is hand drawn and carefully painted in - and sparkles. My short name and address fits nicely into this cartouche. Maybe Kate will tell us what she does with longer names and addresses. I guess it would be a rectangle - which should work fine. I like the layout and how the stamp still got canceled - but not obliterated.

I am also showing the flip side of the envelope. It shows that the envelope was slightly mangled by the machinery. You can almost feel the amount of pressure that was applied. I get some pretty mangled envelopes. Washi tape is so pretty - but it is not *machine friendly* at all. So -- you might want to reconsider washi tape on your envelopes. There is no washi tape on this one - I'm just mentioning it for the people who use washi tape.


Today we are going to talk about the fondness we have for the first letter of our first name. Or - perhaps you have a problem with your first initial. Either way, I'd like to hear about it if you have a good story or painful lament.

I have had almost 70 years of struggling with my J. My dear departed mom told me that on the day I demanded that she teach me how to write my name, I was in tears because I could not make a J. I could guide the pencil from the top down towards the bottom, but I couldn't curve to the left - my little hand just kept jerking to the right and I would make an L. And then I would burst into tears. It was quite a scene.

Eventually - I figured it out - and then came the horrors of cursive. Too much to go into today. Instead we are going to have a bonding session with my fellow J people, Janet, JeanR, Jessica - am I forgetting anyone? Did you know that we are the only people who do not have our letter on the periodic table?

I did not know that until Feb 7 when there was a daily quiz asking which letter is not on the table - J. I had guessed Q - and while Q is currently there - it is going to be leaving.

Quote from the article:

J. Yes, there is a Q in the abbreviation for the element Ununquadium (“Uuq”). But that is a temporary name, and once this element gets an official name, Q will disappear from the periodic table and be as elusive as J.

As luck would have it, my mom saved the first piece of paper that caused all the tears. As I recall, there were some additional episodes before I figured it out. In fairness to me, the J is the only letter that starts with a stem and then goes to the left - plus it is the newest letter - and whoever thought we needed that letter was mistaken. All the J sounds should have been assigned to G - and the guttural G sound as in *gut, guppy, gun, ugly* should have had a new symbol.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Feb to CathyO - chaos and done lists

 There was a very cool something on IG that inspired this. Rather than taking a screen shot, I just started my own version and wasn't paying attention to the screen - and it fell asleep. When I woke it up - the inspiration was gone - and I had to finish it on my own. I hope I find it some day because it was much better than this. 

That left stroke on the Y is way too flimsy. and the A is wonky. I think this style looks better when the letters are connected. And I can't remember if the style has a name. One-line? Seems like when it first popped up it had something to do with *a line is a dot going for a walk* - you put your pen on the paper and do not lift it as you meander around making shapes that turn into letters. There are so many variations - and some are not connected.


WARNING - pure drivel follows - this update written on Mar 8 - the chaos that was plaguing me seems to have a degree. Feel free to stop reading now and get on with things that are worthwhile.


OK - I'm writing this on Jan 28 - right after I corrected another posting error. There were about 5 days in a row that the postings were messed up. It seemed like the harder I tried to sort things out, the worse I was getting. 

Was this something to be concerned about? Or is it just the usual chaos and entropy? Is it even possible to answer questions like that? I don't know. 

The only thing I know for sure was that January seemed more chaotic than normal - and I am writing this post as a *benchmark* so that when it pops up, I can ponder if January was abnormal - then find out if  February got better? [Egads- I sure hope it didn't get worse.]

I saw a blurb about - making a *done* list, instead of a *to-do* list. I thought that was a really good idea. Or - maybe I should just keep my to-do lists as a record of all the things that got done. 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Feb to Mary and Lynne - International conference & IAMPETH


The final idea I had was to mix some showy, script with the PicklePie - and I was very happy with that option. Mary's is my favorite. Lynne's is nice, too - but it doesn't have the same punch as that g in Strong. And Mary's is much looser, too. Somehow, I always prefer when I loosen up - which means some people are going to get stuck with the *stiff* versions that I do in the beginning. In a perfect world - I could just do about three warm ups for each person. But, sadly, the world is not perfect and that is why we putter at our desks and drop these random bits of ephemera in the mail box.


This just in (from a Feb 2 posting on CyberScribes) - prior to covid - there were 2 options to study with rock star calligraphers (in person) in the summer: the international conference, usually held on a college campus and IAMPETH, usually held in a hotel. Both bounced around the country. During covid - the international conference had a couple Zoom-type conferences and IAMPETH had a couple in person - during which some people got covid. Prior to covid, I'd only gone to the ones that were in the Midwest. In 2024, IAMPETH is going to be in Chicago - and this just in -- the international conference is going to be in Davenport, Iowa. Imagine that.....

Both are nice (for me) to visit on a drop in basis - rather than attending for the full week - because there are usually some very nice exhibits. I'll update things as we get closer to 2024 - but it might be a good time for some of us to meet up in person. 

The 2024 Calligraphy Conference is ON and IN-PERSON! SAVE THESE DATES!!!

Pack your bags and calligraphy's time to go on a ROMAN HOLIDAY! The first in-person calligraphy conference in FIVE years! Join us June 22-29, 2024 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa to celebrate the gift of Fr. Edward Catich's lettering legacy. Follow the Calligraphy Conference Facebook page for the most current details!