Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Nov from Kate, Troy, and Sharon

Sharon wrote that her design was her first attempt at linocutting. She liked the design and cutting - but was not as fond of the printing part. Me, too. I'm fine until I get ink on my fingers and then I'm ready to quit. It seems like such an insignificant thing -- but stopping to clean up in the middle of the process seems to break my train of thought.

And then --- I don't know why I get such a charge out of Rachael's line - and especially when others use it - but this made my day when it arrived - it's a portion of the note on the back of the card.

What it is about *deeply regret* that tickles my funny bone. It must be the juxtaposition of deep feelings tied to those times when we know we could make something better - but we have to assess the situation and let some things go.

Does the brain surgeon ever mumble in the middle of his day, "I deeply regret how much of that tumor I attempted to remove." If we have any brain surgeons on board, let us know.


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Nov - from Cathy. Leslie, Paula

I'm really pleased with my new system of collecting and then posting in some kind of order. Since there are only 2 days left in January, I am going to tidy up and post the last few Nov envelopes that arrived.

First we have Cathy's which is sooooo pretty, I like that squirrel and acorn image on the card inside. The colors on the envelope are so perfect with the stamp. Steal-worthy.

Leslie sent a second envelope - this one to George and it arrived when he had covid - so that was nice. Leaves are tried and true - dependable - motifs.

And here is the envelope from Paula, our friend at the PO in NH. I had a shout out to her when this arrived. She decoupaged the turkey - and there is some added sparkle.

The rest of the Nov envelopes will appear tomorrow. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

NOV from Grace - utter silliness

This one from Grace looks like a checkered tablecloth. I could not tell if she painted it herself or if the envelope came with the print and she added the rubber stamped images. The paper is very nice paper - and it looks like it could have been cut out using an envelope template and then instead of constructing an envelope, she adhered it all the way around to a piece of cardboard or card stock. It does not look like it would be easy to deconstruct. I like the idea of working on paper and adhering it to the filler. In order to do that, I will have to replenish my supply of adhesives. I love the added on 1-cent stamp. The colors as well as the theme complement the whole design.


And speaking of the fridge, which we were doing yesterday - I would like to change the person in the photo to my older son who averages less than one visit to our house per year - and without fail, when he opens the fridge, he finds moldy cheese. 

So the caption would read: When I miss my parents, I put 8 chunks of moldy cheese in my fridge and then it feels like home.

Tomorrow we will get back to lettering - but, I liked this one, too.
No more memes coming up - my attention has been leaning away from screens.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

From Madison in Nov - Refrigerator roulette

I had a few posts filled with the silly stuff - and then 3 more Nov exchange envelopes arrived. Madison had an interesting idea - maybe she saw something like this or maybe she just dreamed it up. It made me think of parts of the illustrations in the original Alice in Wonderland - also the Alice inspired envelope from Leslie a couple days ago. When I was deciding what silly add-on to go with it - Refrigerator Roulette seemed like a fun pairing.


A quick search on the blog indicates that I have never talked about Refrigerator Roulette. It's something Ive done for years. It is a game of solitaire where upon opening the fridge to find something to eat, I start opening many items - and take a bite and decide whether or not it is edible. Jackpot is when the player wins instantly - if the first item is edible and there is enough that the player does not have to look further.

If the first bite is inedible, the player proceeds to other items. It is possible to get a faux-jackpot on the second or third item. And then the game ends. However. If the player hits E,EFY (Expired, Even For You)  three times in a row, then the player must drop everything and do a full sweep of the fridge. 

The player is assured of a win-win situation. Win number 1, the fridge is cleaned. Win number 2, the player will no longer be hungry - because either - 2A - they found plenty of bites that added up to a meal or 2B - their stomach is churning and they have lost their appetite. Sometimes the loss of appetite lingers for the rest of the day and the player gets a 3rd win - they have more time to putter at their desk.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Nov - From Maggie - Ogden Nash


Here is a series of workshops to look at. I have not looked at them - just posting them promptly so that I don't forget.

Maggie revisited a technique that she recalled from her early years - leaf printing. The colors go very nicely with the stamp as well as the season. I'm writing this on the day after Thanksgiving. 

Not chatty. But - very appreciative of pretty mail.


A couple days ago - when I was looking for a word to describe a image that was a *mind-sticker* I thought of something else

Is there a word for the situation where you can't remember something and it is driving you crazy?
And it's not the simple *I can't recall* - it's the ones that are going to drive you crazy until you remember.
There is a story by (?) about a person who is up very late and can't remember the name of the town in NJ that is two words, Eventually, it drives him so crazy he wakes up the other people in the house - pestering them - until someone finally says: Perth Amboy. If you ever read the story - it will haunt you - because every once in a while you remember the story - but you can't remember the name of the town that was driving him crazy - and then it drives you crazy.

Now, I am driving myself crazy trying to remember the author.
Whew - I think it is Ogden Nash.
I loved the Ogden Nash stamp.

I'm too lazy to research and confirm that it's Ogden Nash.
But not too lazy to find the stamp.

Light Verse and Cartoons

OK - I resolved my laziness - and found a delightful article about all kinds of funny stories including the Perth Amboy story - and it sounds like Bill Bryson is just a newer version of Ogden Nash....I wonder if Bill ever mentions being inspired by Ogden - his book The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid certainly sound like an homage to Ogden.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Nov - Fashion from Inta + Not Just A Label


Inta sent a nice fashion themed mailing in Nov - that is good tie-in to my add-on jabbering. I have mis-givings about this one - because it is the strange stuff. I need to be on the lookout for things that are creative without being *wildly* creative... 


Once in a while I find something in the world of fashion to post. This site is lots of fun if you like the edgiest of the edgy. My favorite thing about it is that within the first 3 pages - I found examples of avant-garde clothing - from 6 of the 7 continents. It's nice to know that the trend is everywhere. Well, probably not in Iowa. But, everywhere else. 

- or here's their Instagram - if you prefer

Dark and dramatic - or light and fluffy - your choice.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Nov from Rachael - Big Mailbox


I love this one - and it's sitting on my desk - as inspiration for my January envelopes.
It's like MishMash - only the letters remind me of mid-century signage. It goes perfectly with the stamp. Maybe I can use up my Peanuts stamps with this style.....


As I spend my 5-7 days being the caregiver to MrWilson and his Covid situation, some of my down-time is spent going down my own blog's rabbit hole. On the post that featured the giant mailbox in Svalbard - there was a comment from a DianneO alerting me to this giant mailbox in Douglasville, GA. I apologize for not posting this sooner. I wonder if DianneO is still reading the blog.

Here's a link to see more photos and comments from people who have gone to see it - also directions to get to it. Warning - it goes to a site that features all kinds of things to see if you are roaming around the US. 

Here is my 2017 post about the giant mailbox in Svalbard. I think the PO calls the mailboxes where they collect the mail - collection boxes - and the boxes where they deliver the mail are -mail boxes- But, I think the rest of use -mailbox- for both sending and receiving.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

From Leslie in Nov - Antarctica

Unexpected image from Leslie - although that is a goofy comment to make. Illustrations of things have no relevance to what we do day to day. Maybe this was a series from the illustrations in Alice in Wonderland. For me, those images are *mind-stickers.* Have we talked about mind-stickers? It's like an ear-worm (song that you can't get out of your head) only it's an image that sticks in your mind. Is there a word for that experience that I have forgotten?


One of yesterday's links was to a post mentioning my son's ski trip to Svalbard - which is as close as you can get to the North Pole for a ski trip. Not that they have any ski resorts - you have to hike up mountains and ski down. Same thing at the *South Pole* or as close as you can get - which he has done. I think there is a blog post about that trip.

Recently I ran across an Instagram guy who worked at a station in Antarctica. I spent a fair amount of time looking at his posts. First link is to his account. Second link is one with a fun series of clips that show what it's like to fly into Antarctica.

LINK to main page about life in Antarctica

LINK to flying into Antarctica

Link to a visit to Shackleton's hut

LINK to Scott's 1902 hut

The huts are amazing ---

Nov from Quiroz - Question for Inta

This one reminds me a little bit of the umbrella yesterday - only without the umbrella. Juliana, the mom did the outer envelope. Her 3 daughters did the envelopes that were nested inside.
First a fun calligraphic turkey. 

And a sweet little Pilgrim girl. I always had a fondness for Pilgrim imagery - and this little girl is adorable.

And Abigail made a sweet little seed-sprite - which I love.
Another delightful series from the Quiroz girls.


Inta - I saw this on Pinterest and there were other photos of groups of people wearing what appear to be lampshades on their heads. It is linked to a site in the Netherlands - so maybe you can explain what it means. Or this might have been a random idea - and just a coincidence that they live in the Netherlands.

Anyone who needs to kill some time and who enjoys creative costumes will find many more at the link to this pin on Pinterest

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Nov from Amy - Jeweler

This is delightful. I want to steal it.

Yesterday - it sounded like MrW was going to have a mild case of covid. He went downhill and he had a miserable week. Then the stress of being a caregiver weakened my immune system and I had a 6 week battle with the Martian Death Cough. Did y'all notice how clever I am to blame MrW for my illness. I can back my claim up with endless articles on how caregivers eventually run themselves down to a nubbin. I don't make any of this stuff up.

Nuf said - I hope there is a health-demic in 2024.


It seems like it's been a while since I linked to the NYTimes. I like to keep it less than monthly so that nobody runs into their firewall. Hopefully this will pop up. It's a jeweler with perspectives that parallel many of my perspectives.

First - her Studio Sweep series - using up all the bits and pieces she has on hand. The word *mishmash* appears in the second paragraph. Then - her mixture of precious stones with unconventional materials. And this quote from the article: Calligraphy has influenced several series. “I’m charmed by the thick and thin swoops,” she said, “and I love achieving that effect by what I call ‘askew hammering.’” 

There's more

There are not many photos of her work with the article - but there are plenty if you go to Google images and search Judy Gelb Jeweler. I'd call her work nouveau-hippie. Or maybe she's been a lifelong hippie. Is there a name for that?

Monday, January 22, 2024

Nov from Janet - MrW Covid Day 1


I wonder what inspired this - in real life it is exuberant and happy. As I look at the image on the screen it leans a little more towards chaos - although a cheerful chaos. Nice wavy line cancel, eh? Maybe Janet was listening to music. If she remembers her inspiration - maybe she will tell us.


I am writing this on the Monday before Thanksgiving. The system where I stay organized is going very well - but that might be because I am stuck at home caring for MrWilson who has covid and it is his first time. I had it once, while visiting my daughter and family in Chicago - when Typhoid Maury (the grandson) brought it home from school. He was asymptomatic and insists he did not have it. Several kids in his class had it -- and he tested positive - so we know he brought it home - but we know better than to argue with a small boy (he was 6 at the time).

I just finished Day One - of quarantining MrWilson in the bedroom that has an en suite - or ensuite if you prefer. He escaped once, and we had a little masked chit chat. We're grateful that he seems to be in the mild zone. However, having only mild symptoms will make it very challenging for him. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

From Christy in Nov - Violin Maker


This is fun - I hope I can remember to use the idea of putting the name and address inside of a sign. If the proportion of the sign was a little different - you would not need to come up with another element to stand in for the helmet. 


Do I have too many links to people who make stuff? This one is a violin maker. It's too bad that the focus of the title is focused on the value - but - we've all heard about Stradivarius violins?

Or if you already know you have no interest in violins - here is the channel - with all kinds of other makers who are very skilled. Tailoring, embroidery, carving, welding, and more.

I have mixed feelings about some of the extravagant things that are made and sold to people who already have more than they need. Part of me is sad for them that their main *thing* is finding things to buy and they miss out on the pleasure of making things. Of course, for those people who prefer to have a career making things - I guess they are grateful that there are customers. I certainly fell into that category when I *needed* people to pay me to address envelopes - that's about as un-necessary a service as you can get. 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

From Smash in Nov - Tom the artist


Real time comment: This is so stylish. I wrote the blurb below about Tom Friedman and I have no idea why this envelope made me think of Tom Friedman. While we are admiring Susan's work - let's look at the very elegant italics.


A search did not offer any posts where I talked about Tom Friedman, the artist - not to be confused with Tom Friedman the writer. It's really hard to decide which of Tom's pieces to feature. Somewhere I think I have a photo of the piece that the Des Moines art museum owns. It inspired me to do a bunch of cutwork which ended up giving me tennis elbow. 

Another piece of his that was in an exhibit at our local museum was a large sheet of paper and he started with a brand new Bic pen and wrote and wrote and wrote, filling the paper until the ink was used up. When I look at my excess of art supplies, I wonder if maybe I should use up some of them in pieces that are designed to use up the supplies.

If you have time to kill - maybe you will enjoy looking at Tom's work. Or maybe you will think it is ridiculous. Either way is fine with me.

This link takes you to his works organized by the year they were done. To the left is another option where you can see them organized by category. Warning: some of his stuff is weirder than what we usually find on my blog - but since a bunch of you are anonymous - maybe you've been waiting for a link to something  a little edgier than flowers and polka dots. Tom has flowers and polka dots, too.

He's made many pieces out of paper which appeals to me.

Feathers from Mary and Jessica in Nov - Sakura


I just found out that I have been pronouncing Sakura incorrectly. Listen to the first part of this video. I think she is saying SOCK-ooh-rah.  

Will I be remembering to use the correct pronunciation? I'll try. Did everyone know I was mispronouncing it but were too polite to tell me?


Real time comment: I have no recollection of learning this or writing this.

Friday, January 19, 2024

From Patty in Nov - 7,000 images


It took a while, but I finally found the portal to where Google is storing the 7,000 images on my blog. At first they looked like they were in chronological order - but then some very old stuff came up. It's unlikely that I would ever figure out how to organize them. Maybe it's best to just let them be a happy jumble.

One idea that popped up was to put together a group of envelopes that are fool proof. That means they are ideas that do not require actual skill at lettering. They do rely on having enough art supplies to match the colors in the stamp. But the basic layout has enough going on that anyone could execute the design.

Do you think I can find an example - it is 6:45 - let's see how long it takes...

OK - 4 minutes later and I just saved 10 examples to re-run. I'll space them out - 


Real time comment. I have no recollection of writing this and I have no idea where I *saved* those 10 examples. <sigh>


That previous *real time comment* was not in real time. This is real time. Good morning - I see that I did not say anything about Patty's envelope. It is a good example of a fool proof design. Do something along the west coast - make a bold first name along Interstate 80 - give the USPS a clear address - and choose your shapes and colors off the stamp. Voila.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Nov from Irene - Changing a habit


More leafy vines for me to copy. On top of that, Irene has time to do Zentangles. I wonder if Irene would be willing to send us a schedule of everything she gets done in a week. I'm curious if she has someone who takes care of all the stuff that seems to eat up most of my time - grocery shopping, meals, chewing, cleaning up, laundry stuff, household's endless. Am I the only one who gets bogged down with the daily stuff?

Today we begin Step 2 in the new process of scheduling posts. I will post all of the exchange envelopes that arrive in November. From now on - it should be easy to figure out whether or not I have posted an image that pops up out of nowhere. Fingers crossed that this works. 

Well, that didn't last long. I do not have a system for posting images that pop up from other places. 

Back to the drawing board.

On Nov 17 after a day packed with errands, etc, I was exhausted at 5 pm and decided to work on the blog. I did a search that led me to a 2011 blog post - and I was dumbfounded at the lengthy (and rather silly/ridiculous things I used to talk about) I hesitate to even mention it - lest it encourages anyone to go back to see what I mean. Trust me-- don't go back. 

I've toyed with the idea of a new blog - that reposts things that are worth saving. I even checked and the name thisisworthsaving(at)blogspot(dot)com is available. I resisted the temptation to start such a blog. 

That book Atomic Habits - on how to actually change your habits for the better has had a profound impact on me. Not that I can remember exactly how -- I think it was just someone telling me that it was possible to change a habit. That might have been Step One. I have no idea where I heard this - but I think I heard that a huge part of people not escaping bad habits is that their baseline belief is that change is impossible.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Mary's color blocks

After I wondered about what color envelope Mary started with (below) she sent me this comment - which she tried to leave in the comment section - but Google was not cooperating - so here is what she had to say:

You were right about the color block envelope. I started with a white one for exactly the reason you said, so that the colors wouldn't be muddy. I used a sharpie for the black lines. I did some where I added white dots with a gel pen in the black that looked neat. I think you are getting one like that this month. Just remember to put a liner in the envelope if you do this one so that it doesn't bleed through.  

 Mary's fifth (and final) envelope in this series is one that could be used in many different ways. Mary chose black plus 4 colors - from the stamp. Any stamp with at least 3 colors could work for this. The design could also include a shape in the corner that was a border for the stamp. If (when) I appropriate this idea - I know I will write the name and address first and then box it in. 

Mary sent this image - so I can't examine it and see if she started with a white envelope. I like that there is no white left on the paper. It might have been a yellow envelope. I have some yellow envelopes so I might see if I can make this work on yellow - no - I miscounted the colors. I didn't count the turquoise. There are 5 colors - and unless you had paint pens - layering turquoise over yellow is probably going to make a muddy color. Even that dark purplish blue would be a challenge.

I'm pretty sure I am going to try this with a white envelope and maybe even work in some white as one of the colors. Or how about a black/white/gray design. There are many ways to go with this one.


So how did I do on my test run - to see if I can adhere to my new plan to schedule posts and do it in an orderly fashion? So far - I get an A+. I emptied a folder and I did not do any jumping around. I'm not confused. Although, I might be unaware of confusion - which sorta makes not-being-confused - out of my reach. And my head hurts just thinking about how that works.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Mary's mummy for JeanR

This is a really clever tie-in. That stamp is so perfect. The way Mary used the colors and the abstract image on the stamp to tie-in with the mummy looking strips is so cute. The mummy wrapping is a little bit abstract, too. Very nice. As much as I like this one - I'd hesitate to even look for a stamp - other than that one. I do appreciate that the USPS gives us some really good abstract images from time to time. The problem is that they are mostly in collections of several images on a sheet. I struggle when I do not have multiples. Apologies for that broken record comment.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Mary's kitty design for Carolyn

Before I used up all my kitty/puppy/heart/love stamps, I seriously considered asking people to designate whether they were a cat person or a dog person or an *either* person when they signed up for the exchange. Carolyn has a double-o in her street name which Mary worked into two balls of yarn. Since I have used up all of my kitty/puppy stamps I won't be pondering the kitty portion of this. The thing I like is the border for the name and address and the border around the stamp. At the moment, I can't think of other things that could be substituted for the cats. Maybe vines or flowers?


Sunday, January 14, 2024

2nd Mary envelope - to Amy (Egg)

 Super cute idea. The stamp looks like it belongs in the landscape. The success of this IMHO hinges on the background color of the stamp being so close to the color of the envelope. It's hard to imagine how this would work on a white envelope. The bright white egg seems to be an essential part of the success. Maybe someone could make it work - but not me. 

While it would be a challenge to make a white egg work on a white envelope - if you had mad skill at illustration you could totally make it work. I like quirky little black and white cartoons. I'm almost tempted to try - but, I'd have to find a stamp that offered a super cute connection. A beverage stamp might have worked. Maybe there are other images on other stamps that would work. 

I just used up my last Peanuts stamp - white with a black line drawing of Snoopy. It would have been a perfect stamp to try this idea in black and white.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Mary series - Patty's owl

We are going to have 5 days of envelopes from Mary as I do an assessment of myself on whether I can schedule posts using my new *fool-proof* method. I'll ponder the possibilities of how to steal Mary's ideas. This will show my personal thought process on what to steal and how to make it into a successful theft.

The bold image is eye-catching. The table on which the image is sitting grounds the image nicely. The cup and the stamp relate very nicely. Would this idea work if the image did not relate to the stamp? It depends. I won't go so far as to say that it has to be an image with a beverage - but, I suspect that is a big component of the cuteness factor. The color palette of the stamp is muted, so introducing the orange was a good idea.

If you missed the BREAKING NEWS post yesterday - scroll down - 


Friday, January 12, 2024


 Scroll down to today's regular post

BigHelpfulBrother just sent me a blurb about the earliest known piece of mail with a postage stamp- going up for auction:

This shows the original envelope - re-purposed - the flip side from the side that had the stamp.

I am almost inspired to take envelope I receive and turn them inside out ---- 

Nov to Patty

OK. Yesterday was not the last of the Nov envelopes. Today is the last one. I've done some stacking and layering of all the letters in names. There are a gazillion ways to do that. Some of them I like a lot. This one isn't spectacular. Usually gold gouache is jazzy enough to compensate for any weaknesses - but not this time. It's a little wimpy. It probably looked better in real life.

Patty and I took a field trip to the place you go if you want the best quality prints of your artwork. She had a nice stack of watercolors. She also had a painting on a canvas that someone had admired and she was considering making a print of it. The company can print on canvas and you can have it stretched onto stretchers. It's very cool and I had it done one time - because my MrWilson wanted a large piece of art for his office and the high school art teacher had called me to pick up a piece my son had done. It was the end of the year and she knew I would love it and she also knew that my son would never follow through with her request to take it home. I was soooo grateful that she had the foresight to call me.

I suggested to Patty that she just make another painting. She agreed that it made more sense to do another version of the painting - and even thought of things that she'd do differently. I'll be curious to find out if she actually does make a second painting.


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Nov to Leslie, Kate, and Ben

This is a cousin of MishMash - or maybe we should call it a cross-pollination of MishMash and DuBosch Jubilee. It seems a little plain. I pondered adding some color and then chickened out. I know for sure that it could have used some white. 

Here's another one that needed help. Or as Christoph recommended - purposely ruin something. I think I did go back after I took this photo and added more dark cross hatching to the letters and it helped - but I forgot to take another photo.

This seems like a good day to just finish up whatever is left in the folder of mail that I sent in November.
Another envelope for my grandson. Once again - after it was done - I realized that it would have been ten-times cuter if I had scrunched the name into flat, curved exhaust - that followed the puffs that were on the sticker. That would have been so easy. There was another envelope inside for my granddaughter to open - but I forgot to take a picture.


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Nov to Irene - brief botany lesson

Rachael sent something that looked like this in October - with pumpkins - and I figured I could just leave out the pumpkins and make it a nice leafy design. I thought her vines were maple leaves - which if I was paying attention I would realize that maples are not vines. Her leaves had pointy outlines and when I went to outline - my leaves turned into oak leaves. I love drawing leaves - so it was fine that they morphed and the oak leaves looked better with the stamp.

When I emailed something to Rachael about the maple leaves morphing into oak leaves - she told me that the Oct vines were supposed to be poison ivy. Well, of course - they were clearly vines and they were clearly in a formation of three - leaves of three, let them be. I've known that forever. 

I had to learn how to identify poison ivy - with something more specific than the 3-leaf thing - because we have a couple weeds that look 3-leafy. My BigHelpfulBrother pointed out that our local variety of poison ivy had leaves with asymmetrical sides. One side is smooth and the other side is sawtooth. 

This is way more than anyone needs to know to do a leafy vine-y design. I predict that I will do more of these.


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Nov to Sharon, Janet, Grace - wedge brush flowers

Here are the other three from the day I did 6 wedge brush envelopes because Irene's envelopes lured me into getting out my brushes and gouache - or maybe it was watercolor.

Sharon's was really wimpy without the dots. It reminded me a little bit of a peacock tail - and Sharon is the one who sent a pretty peacock card in October - and there is a peacock on the stamp.

Janet's has some mutant tulips - and she used to live in a very very very Dutch community. I love the community and I love tulips - and I can''t believe I have not brought up rosemaling with Janet. Although that might not be the right word. There is a lot of decorative painting in the Northern European countries that I just love. I was thinking I could make the brush strokes go both directions. I need to find a book or a lesson on YouTube.

This one is so wimpy - I can't believe I am allowing it to be on the blog.

Grace's is wimpy, too. Apologies - I'm feeling like I've gotten a grip on how to approach the Jan envelopes. I hope I'm right.