Thursday, August 31, 2023

From Cathy to Nancy

If you read the blog earlier than 10 am CST - you might have missed the correction on yesterday's envelope. I had it listed as coming from Mary - but it was actually from Janet.

 This one from Cathy is so pretty. For some reason the camera was confused by the colors and turned the background pink. The colors are so perfect with the stamp. I should have made notes when I went over to Nancy's to photograph her envelopes - but I remember it was on one of those beastly hot days - and I was in that zone - where I just felt baked - even though I didn't have to be outside. I think I get *reverse-baked* from being in air conditioning 24/7. It feels good to get outside - but then it's so unwelcoming.

I'm writing this on the day after I took the photos - and hoping that when I read this that August was not as hot as July. At least we know that tomorrow is September -- and that should bring a mixed bag and then eventually some lovely weather.

The opposite of feeling *baked* would be *frozen.* Not literally - but feeling a loss of function.


Nope -- August was worse. Lots worse.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

I'm a ding-dong

This post has been edited - as of 10 am CST on Aug 30.
This envelope is from Janet.
Mary alerted me just a few minutes ago.

Apologies to Janet -- although - I am only 99% sure that it is from Janet. There is always the possibility that it is from someone else. But, highly doubt it.

 How fun is this? Mary Janet thought of the Fancy Nancy series for her envelope to Nancy. Nancy had not heard of Fancy Nancy. I knew about her through my granddaughter. She's a lovely character for little girls - right before they get into Barbie. My daughter was a big fan of Barbie and for some reason did not hold off on getting my granddaughter her first Barbie. I guess her very first doll was a baby doll but by the age of 2 she was happily playing with Barbie. Later - she back-tracked into the American Girl dolls.

I had a couple unfinished envelopes in my stack - with the name Nancy on them - so I sent them along. The Fancy Nancy envelope got a little crumpled - but this bunny envelope looks like it had a really wild ride across town. I had so much fun figuring out bunny ear names -- and it was many years ago. Now that I have a sheet of those rabbit stamps - I see more bunny ear names in my future.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

From Lynne to Nancy - ink video

You need to see Lynne's envelope in person to appreciate the fine lines. Maybe if you enlarge the image you can get the feel for how fine the lines are. Somehow - in person - anything that is hand done has some quality that I can't put into words. It's like you can see the medium sitting on top of the paper. With gouache - you literally CAN see the paint sitting on top of the paper. I need to find one of those IG images of videos that show the ink or gouache flowing out of a pointed nib and the way some people can photograph it - each stroke looks like a huge droplet of fluid. It's very cool.

I think there are some better videos than this one - but this gives you the idea. If you have time, you can scroll back on Julie's IG - and look for some that are metallic ink on dark paper. Or maybe a reader would like to send me a link if they know what I am talking about and have seen a better example.


Monday, August 28, 2023

From Patty to Nancy

This fun envelope and coordinating card came from Patty. I'm going to try this design because it looks like a ton of fun. Plus - it's an ideal way to work with a stamp that has you stumped. All you need to do is pick out some colors from the stamp and if it only has one or two colors - you can just add whatever colors you like.

The card on the inside is nicely coordinated. Notice the balance of color on the envelope - just a tiny bit of green. But then on the card - lots more green. If you imagine the envelope without any green - it would lack a little sparkle. 

Did anyone wonder if colloquial was the right word yesterday? I did. I wondered if I should have used the word - slang - so I Googled and learned the difference between colloquialisms and slang. I didn't learn it well enough to explain it. I think slang is used by certain groups of people (like teenagers) but colloquialisms are used by everyone? I'm assuming they mean by *everyone* who lives within a specific area. I think slang changes - and the whole point of teenagers coming up with new words is to hide what they are saying from older people who haven't learned what the new words mean. I will refrain from the whole *thing* where people just use letters - like LOL - instead of words. There is a word for that - which I can never remember. <sigh>

Sunday, August 27, 2023

From Mary to Nancy - colloquial words and phrases

When I sent out the exchange lists in July and put Nancy on the list instead of me - I didn't add much info about Nancy other than that she was married to my brother. Mary emailed asking for more details and I said she was originally from Louisiana and liked to cook. So - this is an adorable envelope for a Louisianan?

I had to look up what people from Louisiana are called. As usual - not everyone agrees. Louisianian is sometimes used - but I can tell you that spell-check will auto-correct to Louisianan. So there.

And here is a rabbit hole if you are curious about the common colloquial words and phrases from all 50 states. The link will take you to Louisiana - and after that you can wander around on your own. I am going to stick with my plan to get all the Nancy envelopes posted in one sitting.


Public Service Announcement:

Below is a photo of a drive-by mail box that I use quite often. It is a neighborhood station. I happened to be at the PO the day after this happened. Apparently there were break-ins at other stations as well. So, in the future, I am going to take my mail inside the stations. 


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Frits's question about his font

Scroll down for today's regular post

This envelope ran back in 2014. On Aug 24, 2023 there was a comment left for me to OK - which I did. Here is the comment:

This alphabet is based on the letters that can be seen on Het Scheepvaarthuis in amsterdam. I created the paper versions of the letters. I did this for many letters on buildings in Holland; creating complete alfabeths based on the letters that can be found on a building. I wonder why so many of "my" alphabets show up under other peoples names. I would very much appreciate if somebody can explain me how this works. I am a very analogue person. 

Someone named Frits who is very talented at lettering - but probably not a type designer - came up with this style. I have no idea where I found the style - although there are 2 good guesses. Pinterest or that guy in Canada who has a huge collection of fonts.

Frits says he can't figure out how his style of lettering is popping up *under other people's names.* He also says he is *very analogue* - so - I'm not sure how to explain how all these images are just out there -- and people who see cool fonts will do a handwritten version of the styles. I should have made it clear in my original post that I did not come up with this style and I should not have offered the *full alphabet* - unless I had a link to the original source. I will keep digging and see if I can figure out who Frits is - and I will see about amending any further references I have to this style. 

OK - I am also a very analog person - but, I was able to figure out how to do a search for the font and I found it on I had forgotten about that site. It has a ton of fonts - and I do not see any option to translate it into English - so - I'm not sure I can track down Frits. If anyone has any suggestions - please let me know. From now on, I will try to be more careful about posting fonts when I do not have a name to go with them.

My apologies to Frits if he sees this. I will try to correct things.


From Smash to Nancy

I wish every photograph of every envelope was as pretty as this one. But - that would necessitate people supplying all those goodies that were in the envelope. Wow! Smash (aka Sue Mashman) outdid herself.

There were a couple stamps (upper right corner) tucked in the the tiny square envelope and that envelope was tucked in the Happy Birthday envelope along with the little flag --  ant the stamp is so good.

The fireworks flourishing is the frosting on the cake. 

I think the lighting contributed to the photograph looking so good. It would be nice if I did a little more research into how to take good photos - but, I do not see that happening. My project for the moment is seeing if I can post every single envelope to Nancy in one sitting. I might have to jabber about how I am doing on this project over the coming days.


By the way - people who exchanged during the month I had Peggy's name on the list will be getting a personal thank you from Peggy. I tried multiple times to explain how the exchange works - and that everyone received an envelope from me - so she did not need to send thank yous - but - somehow I didn't get the message across. Eventually, I figured that she just felt the need to send some mail - so - that's why some of you are getting thank yous from Peggy.


sweetninabean has left some comments -- and I OKed them -- I'm curious who you are? are you an exchanger? It's hard to figure out who people are when they(we) have multiple names. Feel free to email me directly at PTEnvelopes-at-aol-dot-com

Friday, August 25, 2023

From Leslie, Carolyn and Sharon to Jan

Disclaimer written in real time: as I read these posts a day or two before they pop up, I am struck by how chaotic they are. I deeply regret that I don't have time to rewrite. And then - yesterday - the post was late. How does that happen? 

From Leslie
From Leslie

Once again - I have lost track of which envelopes have been posted. These three might be repeats or they might not. It is not a good use of my time to try to figure it out. A good use of my time is to post every single envelope that is currently in my download folder - and think about getting myself ready for the August exchange - as I write this on July 23 - which is the day before my 2 year anniversary of cultivating my lifetime excuse for pretty much everything. That's the day I bonked my head. It's not like I enjoy using it for an excuse - but, there is a certain symmetry to learning that:
A. life is an endless series of moments
B. those moments can go either way

Thanks to my exchangers and readers for providing a steady stream of interaction that keeps my batteries charged. And if the readers are getting a little zap of creative energy from time to time - that makes me feel like I'm making a contribution.

From Carolyn

From Sharon



Thursday, August 24, 2023

From Mia to Nancy - Diwali

 I added a post yesterday - about a free lecture - if you read the blog before 7 am CDT - scroll down after this post to see the extra post.

Mia, our Canadian exchanger sent this pretty card and envelope to Nancy. That Diwali stamp is so pretty. I  felt like I didn't really know much about Diwali so I did a quick search and it sounds like my kind of holiday. I've lost interest (enthusiasm) for all of the standard holidays - and this is not a recent *turn* - it started when my kids were little and every holiday turned into a celebration of candy. I'll spare you my long story about candy - or maybe put it over there on that blog I need to start with my official rants.

The part of Diwali that I like (if I understood what I read and if what I read was accurate) is that it's pretty free form in what it is celebrating and how the holiday is observed. Obviously, I lean in to anything that is not bogged down with rules. 

Here is the nicely coordinated card that Mia included for Nancy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Free Lecture - on Sunday

 Here is a link to free lecture - on using up your scraps.

When you register - there is a box for a promo code - just ignore it.

It is sponsored by the Society of Scribes - the NYC guild
Looks like a fun lecture. It says to sign up soon - I'm not sure when the cut off is for signing up.

Today's regular post is below.

From Cathy to Jan&Wrigley

I know, I know - I keep saying how pretty the envelopes are. In a couple weeks - there will be quite a few posts in a row where I wrote them all over the course of a Saturday morning. Somehow I got in the zone and had the right amount of jabbering to go with the envelopes. Partly, I like it when I do a whole bunch in a row and find the flow. 

It seems like when I post a photo and then come back later - the blurbs don't always flow. Plus, I think some of my conversations are better when they unfold day by day. 

My preference would be to always have an add-on topic - but we have to wait for them to show up. Here is a really good one - thanks to Amy for sending it and also Grace who forwarded it - after Amy sent it to her. 

It is a heartwarming story that is too sweet to even condense into a brief blurb. It is not off topic. It is all about how much mail art can accomplish. Warning - you have to watch a brief ad before the story starts:

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

From Amy to Nancy --- testing series


On the lists for the July exchange, instead of my name, I put in my sister-in-law (Nancy Rambo) who is married to the big-helpful-brother. She enjoyed all her mail and sends a sincere thank you to everyone. Amy did a lei of flowers around the edge of her envelope and enclosed a pretty handmade card that was gifted to her by a friend. She included a nice note telling Nancy how much she enjoyed the exchange and how she found it through Pinterest. 

I met up with a couple of the exchangers who live near me and we all agreed that we really enjoy the pen pals we have met through the exchange - and we are equally happy to welcome new people.


A few days ago I mentioned that I was not going to invest in Copics. I did stand in front of the smaller sets at Michael's and stare at them. I had that 20% off coupon. I pondered going through all my markers and getting rid of the dried up ones. That inspired me to come up with some designs that incorporated *testing* - which I think I have done previously. 

So - maybe there will be a *testing* series -- maybe it will be lovely.

Monday, August 21, 2023

From Juliana to Chuck (Tomie)

 I am writing this on July 21 - Chuck just sent this to me in an email - and it's so cool, I'm using my noon infusion of coffee to work on the blog instead of all the chores I was supposed to do. Obviously, we are not happy with the angry USPS slash. Sadly, there is no way to educate all the postal clerks and carriers about the whole point of mail art. I just love the story of Strega Nona - and I have no idea if that is the correct spelling. Technically - I do not remember much of the story - except the part where things get out of hand (maybe it was a magic pot) and there is a tsunami of spaghetti in a village in Italy. 

So - that's stylized spaghetti at the bottom - which goes beautifully with the wavy lines that the post office added. The tile roof is so pretty. I am so tempted to start working on the ideas that this has inspired - but, I think I should use up some of my problem stamps and save my Tomie DePaola stamps as a reward.

The envelope is from Juliana - and this was her first exchange. I hope she continues. And the photo below is from Chuck. The caption says it is a motorcycle from 1912 - in Washington DC.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

From JeanR in July

It's comforting when exchangers enclose notes indicating that they had something in mind - but it didn't happen. JeanR said she was intending on a red-white-blue theme for both card and envelope - but it didn't happen. So if you have plans - but they don't happen - you are in good company.

I love-love-love the white lettering. If I remember, I will ask her from whence it came and update this blurb. We are going to get together in real life. We live within walking distance of each other and one would think we could get it together to visit more often - but somehow - our schedules fill up with so much stuff. Mostly good stuff. 

I think the style of lettering is taught by Yukimi Anand - Jean told me in an email - which I am not able to locate.

I was curious about exactly how long a walk it would be between our houses. 2.2 miles -- and it's mostly uphill from her house to mine. There's a bike trail - but I do not have a bike.

Here's the very pretty card - front and inside.

And look what you can see on the bike trail between the Jean's houses - the photos do not do the scope of the field justice. 


Saturday, August 19, 2023

Rachael to Chuck & me to Kelly - in July (puttering)

Chuck kindly sent this envelope from Rachael - steal worthy - plus I have a whole sheet of those stamps. I guess I won't do the exact design - maybe just be inspired. Once again - I'll need to get out the nibs and ink.

And here are two that had problems - which is a sad way to welcome someone new to the exchange. 

First I spelled her name wrong. There is a tiny *ooops* written on the e. So, I did a *postcard* to tuck in the envelope. But, I used some markers that were not waterproof - so there is some muddiness. Grrr. I think I am going to give up on that second style - unless I find markers that do not show the layers.

This is exactly what I mean about puttering. These two offended my sensibilities. Normally, I would not even post them. But, I have to put my own solid advice into action - and forge ahead. It doesn't really matter what other people think of these. I do not care for them - but they did inspire me to get out the gouache. I knew I'd need Copics if I wanted markers that did not show layers and I know that I am not going to start investing in Copics. *Real time comment - Ohuhu markers come highly recommended (at a fraction of the cost) by Chuck. There is a longer post coming up - but you are welcome to do a search on YouTube and watch people rate them.*

And it's not like the first few envelopes done with gouache are any good. But they are a start. It's literally been YEARS since I got out my gouache. Should I expect the first few tries to be any good? Of course not. But, at least the gouache is out -- and it might lead to some good stuff.


Friday, August 18, 2023

From Janet + puttering

Janet lives in my county. And I know her address. In theory, I could just drive over and knock on her door and ask to see her studio - hoping that I could see what it looks like when she is not prepared for company. Or perhaps it is a marvelous jumble of all kinds of things and she enjoys the chaos. Now that she knows that I am curious - maybe she will invite me see her studio - and promise to leave it in its natural state.

Or -- she could send us photos. A while back, people sent photos of their studios - I wonder if I can find them. I'm pretty sure they made it into the posts. 

She sometimes fills envelopes with all kinds of vintage goodies. And I am having a weird feeling that I already posted this. Did I?

 And speaking of the book, Your Brain on Art - I forgot to do an update on the second anniversary of my traumatic brain injury. Two years ago, it was all I could talk about. Then I lapsed into making occasional references. Then I felt like it was time to just let it go. 

The only reason I'm even mentioning it is because the book had so many parts that reinforced things I learned in brain rehab and all of those things pop up in everything else I read. On top of that, my peers are all making their ways through their 70s - and it's a bit of a war zone. I do not use that term lightly since there really are war zones in the world. But, the *battles* that come up for septuagenarians are challenging.

So this is a little bit redundant from yesterday - where I am on my putter campaign. I think I'm the only one who calls it puttering. That doesn't seem to be a popular term. But, I think it's appropriate - because if you get too picky about the quality - then you can undo all the benefits of the activity. 

Healthy balance. I'll cover that tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

From Lynne to Ben - Your Brain on Art

 Lynne has quite the stash of vintage stamps. I get curious about how people get their vintage stamps. I know that I can just pop in to my local vintage stamp store and buy them. If anyone cares to email and tell me where they get their vintage stamps - that would be fun to write about in a future post. Lemmekno at ptenvelopes-at-aol-dot-com

Ben was very happy with this baseball themed envelope.

I think this third post on the PhD stuff will be concluded. I need to do an update on that book I think I mentioned I was reading - Your Brain on Art. I had to put it on hold and I did not finish it - so I have to put it on hold again. When I started it - I thought I would be able to talk about the various topics on the blog - but practically every sentence was something I felt like talking about. 

Eventually, I thought I should just read it. But, it was pretty dense - for me - and there were parts that I skimmed. And then I was only halfway through. There are huge chunks that confirm all the stuff I have been jabbering about for 13 years. So that was validating. I can't decide if quoting the author is worthwhile. 

For now, I'm going to return the book and put it on hold and we might return to this topic. In the meantime, when I tell you that making art is one of the best things you can do for the overall wellbeing of your entire self - please understand that that is not just some flaky opinion. There is a ton of research that has confirmed that. 

So - go forth and putter. Yes - even puttering has been studied and there is a huge benefit to puttering. I am not making this up.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Two from Grace - more PhD talk

Grace does such pretty work - it's hard to imagine that someone could program a computer to do something like this. Thanks to the USPS for not doing the Sharpie slash. I call it that - even though it's usually a grease pencil. Grrrr

Yesterday I was talking in circles about computer art - and I hesitate to put any limits on what constitutes *art.* The part where someone gets a PhD and can call themselves Dr is where I start waffling. But, deep down, I know that it doesn't really matter. I think I learned that the degrees are just *information.* They tell us that a person has gone to school. Beyond that, they might be highly educated and enlightened -or- they could just as easily be an arrogant buffoon who is only reminding us to not be like them. 

So maybe someone could spend their entire life plugged into electronics and never once touch a marker or a paintbrush - and they could be a lovely person who churns out great art. And who decides what's great and what is not great? It's not like anyone/everyone ever agrees on that.

This concludes my conversation with myself - which may or may not make any sense. All I know is that I did not get around to saying what I meant to talk about - so I will do that tomorrow.

Here's another lovely example of Grace's work that Amy shared with us.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

From Cathy to Alex - computer art

 Alex loved this one and Nanna has made a note to appropriate the tree. I think Cathy drew the tree and then colored it in. She might have used colored pencils. I'm going to try to do it with gouache or watercolor and do the color first and then outline it. I did manage to pull out some gouache and have done about 6 envelopes with gouache that will be coming up.

Remember back on July 22 when I was talking about getting a PhD in art and wrote this:
...there is one in Texas that dovetails art with technology - so that doesn't count (in my world.

I wanted to clarify that I do not have anything against using technology to create art. I imagine people who create art using technology are having the same experience as those using traditional materials. If someone sat me down in front of a very fancy system for creating art using technology - my work would be wretched - and would only improve if I worked at it. That's the way art works. You need to put in the hours.

Personally, I think computer art is a niche - and it's not like the artist is going to have much skill if the power goes out and they do not have a back up generator. Obviously there are a ton of people who have honed their skills the old fashioned way and the computer is just another tool. Those people will be fine.

My hesitation about someone being exclusively a computer-artist is if there are little kids who start drawing on their iPads when they are toddlers and never have a chance to do things in other mediums - they might be missing out on some aspect of the activity. Maybe that will never happen. But, I just wanted to clarify my remark. A PhD in computer art is a computer degree with a focus on art - rather than an art degree with a focus on the computer - and that's just my opinion. Feel free to respond.

Not that any of this matters -- the *doing* of the art is the more essential component. More on this tomorrow.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Mary's dragon for Ben

 This dragon from Mary is adorable - and it had a goodie tucked inside. Goodie sounds edible - I can't think of the word for an *extra.* It's a packet of something you toss into a fire to make fun sparkles. Nanna brought it home from Ben's house because nobody has any open-fire pits where they live. I'm also skeptical that the parents would approve of anything other than s'mores. The grandkids are going to come back to Iowa with their mom in August so we can do an open fire at my house - and have both s'mores AND sparkles. The only issue I can see is keeping Nanna awake until the sun goes down.

I'm a big fan of safety - but, I do recall how much fun it used to be in the olden days when there were more options for fires. It was fun to start little fires with magnifying glasses. I imagine that is not something that is allowed any more. Clearly, I am not even going to ask. Once in a while I ask about some olden time activity - to see if it is allowed - and just asking the question results in *the look* - which is a look of alarm that I had even asked the question. Dang. I can't think of a good example. Maybe one will come to me. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Smash to Alex


Smash decided to do a postcard - and Alex thought it was very pretty. After a variety of plans and changes of plans, I ended up delivering the mail to the grandkids in person and gave them 3 envelopes per day for 4 days. It was fun. They really appreciated the artwork and enclosed stickers and ephemera. Ben, the 7 year old wondered how these people knew that he liked baseball. I think one of them asked if they needed to send thank you notes. I was a very happy Nanna to hear that. I pondered doing thank yous for the August exchange - but we only had 4 days and somehow - we managed to get very distracted coming up with two costumes for Alex, the 9 year old girl. 

Nanna does not love the idea of kids needing to bring costumes to sleep away camp - but - the part where the kids get dropped off for 2 weeks with no phones or iPads - seems like a very good idea - so - I won't complain about theme parties at camp. I actually like the idea of *fashion camp* where kids can spend a week or two creating things with fabric. I wonder if that exists. 

Yup - California - 

I only clicked on the first link. Maybe there is one in Chicago. Although, the whole point of camp is to be too far away to go home. I found some other options in NY. Do you think anyone would sign up for penmanship camp?

Saturday, August 12, 2023

To Ben from Janet and AmyG

Janet has a strong design going here - the two circles - and the overlapping address. The border is a very good addition. And a very fun sticker on the back. I remember those sheets of all the different balls - what a wonderful sheet of stamps. 

And more baseballs for Ben - and more baseball themed stamps. It makes me wonder how many different USPS stamps have related to baseball. Probably not as many as flowers - but I bet it's way up there.

AmyG had a clever way to put the zip code on the base.

I'm writing this on the morning of the day when Ben will play in the Chicago Little League World Series. It is only his second year of baseball and the teams are actually chosen by coaches in a draft. There is a commissioner. It's pretty serious -- but I did not see any of the troublesome side that sometimes comes up with youth sports. 
Update - his team actually won their World Series - exciting - but it just delays the learning of how it feels to lose. I guess that will start in fall. They have something called Fall Ball. 

Here is something for the Excel people - Excel World Championship And yes - it's Excel spreadsheets. I did not watch the whole thing - and the first 5 minutes is unwatchable with flashing lights and noise - then the actual players show up. Then the 30 minutes of competition is unwatchable - unless you are into Excel - and then they chit chat at the end. Trust me - this is not worth spending time on - unless you are desperate for something to do and you like Excel.
I only lapse into these off topics because I see the parallels with those of us who are *into* art.

Friday, August 11, 2023

From Irene to Alex - diagonals

 This is nice alternative to the thing I do - running a vertical stripe of design along the left side. It reminds me a little bit of the way ribbons are sometimes wrapped around a gift on the diagonal. As pretty as it is - and as tempted as I am to try this - I probably won't because I don't do diagonals. But then I ask myself - should you try diagonals once in a while to see what happens? Is there anything that one should just stick to - and never try again?

That is an unanswerable question. Blocking something from one's repertoire might be a foolish thing to do. Or is it smart? How do you know when you are being stubborn - or when you are being true to your... true to what? To yourself? 

This conversation is going nowhere. But I have 10 posts with envelopes and no words - so you might have to put up with me asking these questions.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Fraudulent Postage Stamps - BONUS POST

Scroll down for today's regular post.

Yesterday I had an email from someone offering to sell me USPS stamps at discounted rates. It looked suspicious and I was wondering how hard it would be to forward it to the postal inspectors. It was very easy. They have a lovely website which I encourage everyone to visit - link below.

I emailed them at 8:48 am and had a response at 10:27 am. I forwarded the email and asked them if they were interested in me alerting them to any other fraud stamp sellers on FB and IG. Here is the response:

Good Morning Jean,


Thank you so much for forwarding this to us! Yes, please send us any websites, stores on social media, etc. where you see stamps being sold at a large discount. For more information on counterfeit stamps, please visit our website at:  Counterfeit Stamps – United States Postal Inspection Service (


I have provided the below information to one of our analysts to investigate.


Thank you for your time.


So - if you see any of those discount stamp offers - feel free to email our friendly postal inspectors. 

I'm not sure that link in their email will work - since it is a copy/paste. Here is the link - inserted the way I normally insert links.

or - if you want to start at the home page of the postal inspectors site:


From Grace to Ben

 This reminds me of the style of writing that a lot of baseball teams use. I was amazed at how many people came up with baseball stamps. I do not have a single one. Grace has nice block printing. 

Grace is someone who has a full time job doing calligraphy and I am always impressed that she finds time to exchange. I'm guessing she enjoys doing something different from the traditional wedding envelopes. I jabber quite often about the value of envelopes - and have a few different opinions on what the value is - or maybe there are different values for different people. 

It took a while for me to get my turn with a book from the library - Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us - by Susan Magssmen and Ivy Ross. There were so many things in the introduction that I wanted to excerpt and talk about. Over the years, all kinds of random info filtered into my awareness and lodged there because it validated my innate sense of the value of puttering. IMHO - puttering balances the more formal way of approaching the arts.

It is soooooooo discouraging to live in a world where the arts are treated like entertainment or a pastime - and not a gigantic ESSENTIAL. I suppose I am preaching to the choir. <eye rolling at myself> 

Where should I go with this?

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

From Alison to Ben

 Alison did some fun firecrackers to go with the Lichtenstein stamp - I love the idea and might have to steal it. I was happy to hear that there is growing trend to use drones for fabulous light displays instead of fireworks. My son was in Boulder, CO for a Dead and Co concert over the 4th of July - and he reported that after the concert - a huge display started to happen in the sky - but it was not fireworks. Apparently - lots of people were unaware that drones were the new fireworks - so it took a while for everyone to figure out what was going on. I need to find out if there was any music to accompany the display. I'm very happy for all the pets who are terrorized on the 4th that we now have a substitute for fireworks.

I'm going to mention another book - not recommending it - just mentioning it in case anyone was interested in The Best Minds - about the schizophrenic person. The author of that book wrote about meeting with an author of another book and how helpful it was for his project - so I checked out that eBook and read it. It's - The Center Cannot Hold - by Elyn R. Saks. She's very well known in some circles for managing to get the right kind of help for her schizophrenia - and again - I am not recommending this book unless this is a topic that is of great interest to you. In fact, I will issue a warning - that the way she wrote what was going through her head was somewhat unsettling - the repetitive words and the stream of consciousness. She did a good job of relaying the feelings of what was going on - and while it was interesting to get that glimpse - it was almost like she could give the reader a little taste of how disturbing it is to have unwelcome words coming into your head. Or maybe that was skillful writing - to transfer the feelings - and generate some understanding. It is miraculous that she survived - and fortunately she has devoted her life to promoting enlightenment for those who treat people with conditions like hers.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

From Mary and Patty to Alex

Alex will love both of these - because she enjoys experimenting with ways to write her name. I need to provide some better paper for her. As I write this, I am a few days away from driving in to Chicago (rather than flying) so I can take some paper. 

And here is a book I should get for her - thank you to KristineK for alerting me to it.

"This book is for anyone who's felt the pressure of perfection. As a schoolgirl in Vietnam and later in lettering classes, Huyen Dinh was always told to perfect her penmanship. Instead, she started embracing her own imperfect style-with squiggly lines, cheeky messages, and candy colors. In this upbeat guidebook, Dinh walks you through the basic rules of lettering so she can teach you how to break them in clever and creative ways. She shares challenges and triumphs from her own artistic journey and offers inspiration as well as technical tips. Use your new lettering skills to tell your personal story, support a cause you care about, or decorate your tote bags and sneakers! Fully illustrated in Dinh's signature pastel palette, this book is the perfect companion for any aspiring creative"-- Provided by publisher.


Monday, August 7, 2023

From Valerie to Alex

The original post said that this was from Mary - but, I should have seen the postmark - and known that it was not from Mary. I'll try to find the right name. Sorry.
It was from Valerie. 
Thanks for alerting me, Mary. Google is not allowing me to leave comments on my own blog - or perhaps I do not understand how to *sign on* - grrrrrr

 Ice cream is bound to go over nicely with the grandkids.*Someone* still has some of those very fun ice cream stamps. I do appreciate the USPS's willingness to highlight food on stamps. Remember the scratch and sniff stamps that had various frozen-on-a-stick treats? They were so pretty. I have few regrets - but I do wish I had kept a little booklet of my favorite stamps. It would not work to compile images of them - they have to be an actual stamp. And what would I do with a little book of favorites? Good question. Trick question. I have to stop thinking of things that would add to the clutter. The hoard reduction is coming along - and I must be vigilant.

I'm writing this on Saturday - the one that was just two days ago. I got a text at 5 am that my son was interested in some gardening coaching. Although he wanted to sleep for a couple more hours. Last year I asked for advice on his tomato situation - and was very pleased with the response. One of my ideas for his yard is to convert the grass to something else. After researching, I feel like clover is the way to go since there is already some clover trying to take over. If anyone has a clover horror story - please let me know.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

From JeanR to Ben and Alex

These are from JeanR - and I should have posted them when I was jabbering about go-carts. But since I have already done that - I will jabber about another tradition when the grandkids come to Iowa. Chocolate waffles and ice cream. It's something that I heard about as a kid - but my mom would not make them - so I started making them when my kids were little. You just put cocoa and a little extra sugar in your waffle batter. 

I'm pretty sure that last year I wrote about Ben (the one with the seriously discriminating palate) and how he did not like the chocolate waffles because they were too bitter. So this year I bought the German sweet chocolate and added less - so that they were very mild -- and he asked for seconds. I was pretty happy about that - and I actually liked them better myself. 

If you like waffles - and chocolate - you should try them. When my kids were little, we'd invite the grandmas for Mother's Day and make them. If you want to go overboard, you can add strawberries and chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Times have changed -- I would never make anything like that any more.