Sunday, March 31, 2024

FEB from Christy and Carolyn

 Christy had the perfect stickers to go with the kitten/heart stamp. Purple was a good color to add to the mix. I am resisting the temptation to count how many valentine themed envelopes I received in February. Maybe I'll mention at the end how many were not valentines themed - not many - one or two?

Because I have been reducing my surf time - I will be ganging some of the Feb envelopes - instead of looking for add-on topics. Carolyn's is not valentine themed - that's one - if I decide to count.

In a few days I will show you one of the projects that has cut into my surfing and jabbering time.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

FEB from Amy - Playland Amusement Park

Correction on the Thursday post - JeanR used watercolor on her envelope, not colored pencil. 
She wisely uses very nice paper for her artwork/mailings.

Amy did a pencil sketch on her envelope which is good idea. As I ponder ways to use up all my art supplies - I know there are plenty of pencils and graphite. If my common sense ever kicks in, I will donate the pencils to someone who will use them because I really can't stand the way graphite is prone to smudging. If I know that - why do I keep them around? Grrrr

A week or two ago when I was reminiscing about the Westchester airport I Googled it to see how accurate my memory was. Then I *surfed* around the neighborhood and found Playland Amusement Park. While I'm not a huge fan of amusement parks in general - I do enjoy the part where you take kids and they are exhausted by the end of the day.

IMHO, it's nice that some of the old vintage amusement parks have been maintained and was delighted to find this one in Rye, NY. It's really beautiful. According to the website, admission is free if you live in Westchester County. That's a pretty fun perk.

Photo credit Keith Michael NYC

Here is a link to all the rides if you happen to be someone who loves to reminisce about vintage amusement parks. I wonder if our Westchester scribe friends ever go. Maybe we'll get a field report.

Friday, March 29, 2024

We interrupt the blog for some current news

 I hardly ever bump a pre-scheduled post, but I have 3 things to report - 

A few exchangers sent an envelope to me in March, even though I was not on the list. I'll be posting the others in May. This one from Mary is on the top of the stack - and it's mostly stickers. She drew the shelves with the address. The way she worked the tiger stamp in is clever. I appreciate getting bonus mail and apologize that I probably won't get around to responding - even though that would be a priority if I did not have *real life* and meals and laundry to contend with.

Next - one of our exchangers who had been enjoying the monthly gnomes in 2023 from Chuck emailed me wondering why I had not posted anything in 2024 from, I mentioned that to Chuck and he suggested I post an update in case others have wondered what Chuck's theme for 2024 is. So far - it's IVs and scans and hospitals....which is not what he would have chosen.

I won't go into details - but it all started in late November with a double by-pass - then he was home - then there were complications - and he was back in the hospital - and then more complications - and he was finally home - earlier in March - but - he's back in the hospital - and he's got about 30 doctors in Iowa City working on him ---- 

I told Chuck that way back in November he should have taken one of those old fashioned autograph books with him to the hospital and gotten autographs of all the people who have been caring for him. At least he's maintained his good spirits - hopefully he's on the mend and will be back to his envelopes soon.


And -- I am happy to report that PBS is running a *true story* film about a BRITISH post office scandal that I have already seen and while it is not your typical blockbuster - it's really well done. I'll repost the PBS blurb - because I could never come up with such compelling commentary. 

“This is a staunch David and Goliath homage to quiet fortitude triumphing over corporate chicanery, and well worth anyone’s time.”
– The Observer

“All credit to the writer Gwyneth Hughes for the efficiency of her script, which conveyed a mind-boggling scandal clearly and crisply.”
– The Times

[January 29, 2024] Following one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history, Mr Bates vs The Post Office was created with direct input from the innocent – and indomitable – people caught up in it. Following the UK broadcast on ITV, the series has set off a firestorm of public interest and, within eight days of premiering, the Prime Minister announced a new law to pardon the victims who had been wrongly convicted. The stellar ensemble cast is led by BAFTA award-winning Toby Jones (Empire of LightTinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Sherlock) as Alan Bates and will premiere on Sunday, April 7, 2024 on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

When money started to seemingly disappear from its local branches, the government-owned Post Office wrongly blamed their own managers for its apparent loss. For more than a decade, hundreds were accused of theft and fraud, and many were even sent to prison – leaving lives, marriages, and reputations in ruins. But the issue was actually caused by errors in the Post Office’s own computer system – something it denied for years. Revealing a shocking David vs. Goliath fight for justice, this is the story of the decent ordinary people who were relentlessly pursued, coerced and controlled by a powerful corporation, and their ongoing battle, against seemingly insurmountable odds, to right so many horrific wrongs.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office is the UK’s most-watched drama of 2024 so far and ITV’s biggest new drama launch in over a decade averaging 13.1 million viewers, with hundreds of thousands still catching up on ITVX every day, beating the launch of Downton Abbey in 2010.

Patrick Spence, Executive Producer,  said  “Our ambition in telling this story was simply that the Subpostmasters felt heard. We were so angry on their behalf, we wanted others to feel it too. And they did: the whole country is angry now! They rose up to stand beside the Subpostmasters with such determination and such rage that the Prime Minister had no choice but to act within days. They certainly feel heard now.’

Natasha Bondy, Executive Producer, Little Gem added “It was impossible not to empathise with the Subpostmasters at the heart of this scandal. People who’d been forced to question their own sanity and the behaviour of loved ones and employees, at the hands of a trusted institution. Getting their stories to a wider public so that everyone could understand what they’ve been through, was our biggest hope.”

Thursday, March 28, 2024

FEB from JeanR - Disappointed Tourist


Here we go - the delightful mail that arrived at 420 in February. This one, from JeanR, is that style whose name I can never recall. Sickles? In real life, the color on the name is very pretty with the stamp. Using colored pencil was a good way to get some blended color to mimic the petals of the tulip. I just ran across the envelope and it's watercolor - not colored pencil.

Below is the card - which is cool. I'm tempted to give that layout and style a try on envelopes. There would be plenty of space for a clear and scanner-friendly address. It would need to have the tiny writing  - and the bold border, too ---- ok - maybe that's too much to ask on an envelope - 


Here is an artist who paints portraits of places that are no longer *visit-able.* She has a website where people can submit places that they miss. I submitted the Guthrie Theater (the original one) in Minneapolis. 

There is no guarantee that she will paint what you submit. But, if you have a favorite place that is gone, maybe you would like to submit it. It's rather fun to read some of the places that people have submitted and why they were meaningful. 

Here is my submission:

Image Credit: SwellMap via Flickr

Here is the artist's website with the 300+ paintings she has already completed.

The paintings are currently at the Rowan University Art Gallery in Glassboro, NJ

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

FEB to Lynne + taxidermy

This is the end of the February envelopes.  Tomorrow we will start on the envelopes that arrived at my house in February. It's always a good month. I probably won't group any of them. We just saw all 20 of my out-going Feb envelopes in 9 days. Additional apologies for those weird green ones.

Once I discovered and decided to share what's new in the world of taxidermy, I had to figure out how much time I was going to spend deciding which image to post. All I did was do a Google search to find out if something like Joan Jonas' taxidermy wolf was available online. If you want to go down the rabbit hole - just Google *taxidermy animals* and then click on the [Shopping] tab.

Here's the wolf.  If you live in a loft, I can see how you need things like this to put on the upper shelves.

Once I clicked on [Shopping] - I saw normal stuff - but then I saw 2 baby chicks with antlers - in a battling pose. OK. That's weird. However - it was not all that weird considering I have been seeing Jack-a-lopes since I was a kid. You see a lot of them if you hang out in Montana or the Dakotas - probably Wyoming and Idaho? It's a popular pastime to build giant rabbits out of cows and add deer antlers. Anyhow, to me, the chicks didn't seem all that weird and they were available through Etsy - so how much weirder could it get?

So I clicked on them - and Oh.My.Gosh - there's a guy in the Netherlands who has access to baby chicks and his range of ideas is *out there.*

I'm still debating if I even want to show any of them. I think. I'll just put the link in and a WARNING in all caps that this is weird.

If you have time to kill - click on the battling chicks with horns and read what Casper has to say as well as the comments that customers leave about how pleased they are. Maybe I'm the weird one --- he does have a 5 star rating - and 553 sales. 

I am tempted to do some more surfing - beyond Casper's site - but, that's a slippery slope. I might find things that I do not want to see. I promise to get back to less weird stuff tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

FEB to Cathy and Mary - Joan Jonas

 I wish I had used guide lines on this one and also put in the apostrophe. I ended up liking this and wished that I had another page of skateboards. Then I did this one - which is rather fun. I don't think the blue lines over the white name add anything - but - I can see using this concept again.

I found something online to share but it is so weird I have to preface it by describing why I would even post it. I was reading an article about an artist, a woman, a bit older than me (she's 87) - Joan Jonas. She's one of those women artists who ran with the artists during the second half of the 1900's - when it was pretty hard to be taken seriously if you were a woman. She persevered and the article was about a retrospective of her work. 

There were photos of her including some shots of her studio. She had a taxidermy wolf. Not that I would want one, but, it made me wonder how easy it is to find taxidermy animals. 

Here is another shot from her studio that I would definitely do if I were not sharing my space with someone who is traditional. 

Here is the link if you would like to read the whole article. 
The NYTimes only allows one free article per month - and I don't think it's been a month since I linked to them. Sorry abut that.
The weird part will pop up tomorrow. Brace yourselves.

Monday, March 25, 2024

FEB to JeanR, Juliana, Kate, Kristine, and Leslie

I promise - this is the end of the weird green envelopes. The last thing I tried was some variety in the style of writing. That didn't go anywhere. Here's where I tried some white colored pencil and was not feelin' it.

These last two are so bad - I don't even want to post them.
Of course - Kristine and Leslie are only seeing what the other people received - so maybe you were not appalled or disappointed when these arrived. When I get to the end - and I start looking at envelopes that I would like to re-do - it takes a lot of willpower to let them go.
Trust me - towards the end of every month I start pondering what I am going to do in the upcoming exchange and imagining that I will turn out 20 envelopes and all 20 are pleasing ---

As I proof this on March 13th - I am way behind on my envelopes for the month. 
<sigh> At least the blog is filled up for a month - so you won't find out how things went until late April or early May. Pretty crazy that I'm already into May -- 


Sunday, March 24, 2024

FEB to Janet, Jessica, Grace, Susan, and Maggie

The A in Janet is too big.

All the letters should have been crammed into the corner, bleeding off the top an left - and a bit larger.

Once again, the A in grace is too big and the mands letters need to have more variation.

I apologize for all of these being so redundant. We've slogged through the nib debacle and by the end of 130 envelopes, I was getting to that point where the letters were flowing nicely. I keep talking about getting the nibs and ink out so here was my opportunity to kill 3 birds with one stone. Use nibs and ink on exchange envelopes. Use up orphan stamps. Use up random weird envelopes. These weird green ones were square, so I had to re size them. But they are gone gone gone. YAY.

Yesterday there were 3 where I simply wrote the names as I had written them on the teal envelopes. After 3 - I was itching to do something different so I started bouncing around. Once I used up the elephant stamps I switched to Tomie dePaola stamps - and those envelopes needed some colored pencil to disguise the fact that the stamp clashed with the envelope.

I might as well run these - they are straight -and I don't remember what order I wrote them in - probably earlier - but then there was the whole stamp thing - and colored pencil which came later.

Susan's and Maggie's are OK - could have used something else.
I'm wishing I had thought to do some leafy tree shapes with a white pencil - 
that might have been very nice. 

Actually, I did try white colored pencil and it was too wimpy - which is why these are so plain.


Saturday, March 23, 2024

FEB to Christina, Christy, and Diana - Tape nib part 2

This one needed better confetti - but I was still traumatized from the nib debacle on the teal envelopes which you have not seen yet.

These two are redundant - but, I'll just leave them in as I proceed to my learning experience.

I had teal envelopes and I had done about 30 first names with my Tape nib and figured I should take a break. So, I carefully cleaned the nib and took a break. When I came back to do some more - the nib would not work. I have no idea what was going on - and I was in a near panic. I knew the envelopes had been ordered - re-ordering was not an option. Telling my brother and sister-in-law that I had run into a problem was not an option. I had to figure something out.

Eventually, I just took the reservoir off the nib and that meant that I had to dip the nib on EVERY SINGLE STROKE. Unless you have addressed envelopes with a dip pen - there is no way to fathom how tedious it is to dip EVERY SINGLE STROKE. Of course, there were times I would forget. If you look at the N in Cervantes - you can see that I forgot to dip on the second stroke. Now look at the second E in Cervantes. Even the little top loop, which I do second, should have been dipped.

I was so relieved to have figured out a work around that I was not even annoyed at having to dip on every stroke. As I already said - it was a learning experience. And to be perfectly clear - it's not that I will never use the Tape nibs again. It wasn't the endless dipping - if that had truly bothered me - I would not have chosen to do it on the 20 envelopes for the exchange. 

The learning experience is to never take on a project where there is not a backup plan for things going wrong. And never never never offer to do an actual set of envelopes for an actual event using anything other than markers for which there is easy access to more of them - should the ones on hand run out of ink.

I learned that lesson during an ice storm in December when the envelopes were sucking the ink out of metallic Sharpies at an alarming rate. You can't always find the gold or silver Sharpies in December. I suppose you could if you were willing to drive around for a few hours....


Friday, March 22, 2024

FEB to Amy and Carolyn

Happy Birthday to the BigHelpfulBrother. He's 75 today. Neither of us can wrap our heads around this decade. He and his wife have moved into a retirement community that has some pretty interesting things going on. I was visiting one day and saw a stack of envelopes - 3 packs of 50. I've officially retired from addressing envelopes for clients - but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask if they would like me to address the envelopes for them. They were for an event for the residents - to be hand delivered - so they only needed names - no addresses. And since the envelopes were an aqua/tealish color - I thought they'd look really nice addressed in white.

It was not a tight deadline - so I thought it would be a good test of my skills - to find out if I was still able to address 130 envelopes. And here's the part where things could have gone off the rails. I decided to address them using nibs and gouache. I pulled out the gouache and found a big chunky broad edge nib. I figured a bold name would look best since there was no address.

I had some brand new Tape nibs and I don't remember where the Mitchell's are - so I did some practice with the Tape nib and it was fun - so I started on the envelopes. 

Can you hear the ominous music in the background........


Thursday, March 21, 2024

FEB to Irene - gouache lessons

This one does not bother me as much as the one yesterday. The bolder name is much better - and apologies to Patty - the length of your name would have fit very nicely with this size nib. I like doing those borders but I'm not happy with the proportions. Bordering the stamp always attracts my attention when Janet does it. I need to know what her secret is.


Here is a YouTube channel with 24 lessons on painting with gouache. I have only watched one and thought it had some good tips. I am not certain that all the videos are for gouache - and I will not have time to watch all of them. So, apologies if they are disappointing. 

She is teaching how to *replicate* the styles of other artists. I'm guessing she would not be a fan of my term - steal worthy. 

Here is here blurb about herself - that she has a university named after herself reminds me of my age-old concept of a University of Penmanship.

Hi everyone, I’m Erin Green, an artist and instructor of illustration at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, BC. Back in 2012 I started my private teaching practice, *Children of the Craft, with lessons and workshops on drawing and painting. When Covid-19 happened I started building online courses and now use this channel to accompany my curriculum. I hope you find my videos helpful and inspiring! *Yes, the name Children of the Craft is inspired by the cheeseball 80s horror classic, Children of the Corn... but I promise my videos will not be scary. They will definitely be cheesy however. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

FEB to Patty

This is the other reason that Patty received a full 50% of my envelope time in February. This was the envelope I had in mind for that skateboard stamp. But the fussy frilly border looked awful with the stamp. So I found these two - and then found a larger envelope so that I could just mail this inside an envelope that would hopefully be better.

If you look closely - you might be able to tell that I actually dug out some nibs and ink - although the ink is gouache. The nib is a teeny tiny scroll tip. That is not a good choice with gouache. Then I switched to a regular pointed nib. Another bad choice. Grrrr. I think that is the very last envelope in that shade of blue - glad to be rid of them. I could dig back through the blog and find some gingerbread house stamps on those envelopes that looked nice - but that is not a good use of our time.

The more I look at this the less I like it. 


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

FEB to Patty

 This is the first of the envelopes I sent in February. I was using up orphan stamps and this is not the final-final photo. The skateboard is on a second piece of paper that I adhered over the top of a debacle. And the stamp has not been adhered. I spent more time  on this envelope than the other 19 for the month put together. 

Below is the atrocity that I had to cover up. It's wretched. This all happened during a stretch of days when there was a bunch of gobbledegook - and choosing to redo the name was therapeutic. 

I just cringe - looking at what's underneath. The biggest problem was that I used the wrong orange marker on the P. Rather than cut my losses and just toss the envelope - or switch to black - I led it even further down hill.

Below is the final - after I adhered the corrected skateboard. Patty is probably the only one who noticed that I also added a C on top of the K. It was missing in the top one - and I did not notice until I put in allllll the time to color in all that red. I'm not 100% happy with the way I added the C. It should have been backwards. 

And is anyone bothered that I did not fill in all the red? I was convinced that it needed to have an unfinished quality. Now I am having second thoughts. The goal was to enjoy myself - and that happened. Nuf said.

Nuf -- until a couple weeks later when I am editing and catching a bunch of typos and then I cringed at the length of those *expression* lines. What's the name for those things? Bursts? Whatever it is - they are way too long. Grrrrr.

Monday, March 18, 2024

To Tom from Sharen - Part 3 - Big wedding

 Sharen is a newer exchanger. I wonder if she has done - or still does addressing for wedding invitations. Her pointed pen script is lovely.

Here's the part of the story that illustrates what a special person Tom is. There was a gathering for all the local vendors a week after the wedding. As we were reflecting on various aspects - everyone agreed that Tom had been the glue that held them all together on the day of the event. 

I'll never forget one of the team leaders saying to me - "Yeah, there were times when we'd be freaking out and we'd just have to find Tom and get *a dose of Tom.* I love that expression. He really does have a remarkable way of bringing calm to any situation.

Recently, I introduced him to someone - and he has a new part time gig - to keep busy during his semi-retirement. Every single time I talk to my friend who knows him through his new gig - she gushes over how *everyone loves Tom.* She remarked that there is one person who is a sour-puss who doesn't like anyone - *but she LOVES Tom.*

OK - enough gushing about Tom -- tomorrow we have to start our slog through the envelopes I did in February. Brace yourself -- there is some redundency.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

To Tom from Paula - Part 2 - Big wedding

Paula probably doesn't know how good her lettering is. She often writes little comments on the back of her envelopes pointing out things that she doesn't like. Other times she'll write more on the inside. Paula: You need to know that the orderly-ness of your penmanship is above average. Troy has his FOJ - Fear of Jean pointing out things that she thinks could be improved - which I actually don't do - but I might start (LOL - JK) What I do - is point out things that I like - and then when I say what it is - people who don't do that jump to the conclusion that I am critical of sloppy lettering that is not orderly. OK - yes - I do prefer orderly - but that doesn't mean that I never like dis-orderly. I'll be on the lookout for something dis-orderly that is eye-catching in a good way.


 Part 2 of the mother of all events story.

So, Tom was in charge of everything. I can't remember how many people I hired to help with the napkin/place card component. All I know is that I had to calculate enough people to show up and do it after the tables were set - and I knew the lighting people would cause a huge delay - and my napkin crew had to be *on call* to show up when the tables were ready - which was going to be the last minute.

And then Tom had to make sure that the napkins were there - but not anywhere that somebody would move one of boxes or all of them -- It seems like there were about 8-10 Banker's Boxes. At some point - he would have brought them into the dining room and put them in the general vicinity of the tables. 

Sure enough -- as the crew was finally summoned to put the napkins out - at least one of the boxes went missing. I still get PTSD thinking about stuff like this. It seems silly - but when people are paying you to do something simple - you actually want to get it right.

At least I was not the vendor who got the layers of the cake all stacked up - and then realized that it was too tall to go through the doorway.

Tom and his crew did a spectacular job of getting everything right. The missing box was found. They even went above and beyond - when the groom decided that he wanted to honor the memory of his grandmother by having her favorite candy in a candy dish s.o.m.e.w.h.e.r.e -- I'm not sure where they put it - but my crew ran out and found the candy and Tom lettered a nice little card to sit next to it.

One final note tomorrow.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

To Tom from Kate - Part 1 - Big wedding

This is nice - both colors and layout. Nicely un-canceled. I think Kate took a course in architectural lettering. Maybe this will inspire others to work on their lettering. For starters - you can Google *architectural lettering* and there many fun examples.

OK - here's a Tom saves the day story with details. After years of working with the one event planner on big events, I had the opportunity to work with a different event planner on the *mother of all events* - (does anyone use that expression any more? ) Events are relative - this one was spectacular by Iowa standards - which means you hire a ton of stuff out of Chicago - the band, the vintage cars, the light show, the luge ice sculpture, the tent for the afterparty - which included furniture to create a lounge. The after party band was from LA - and you'd recognize the name.

I will preface by saying that I have nothing against people who want to go overboard on weddings because they are providing welcome income to people who like to create memorable events. I started working on the event in November (invitations) and had not really paid attention to the calendar for the following May - when the wedding was scheduled.

It wasn't until January or February that I realized prior to booking the wedding, I had booked myself into an out of town teaching gig on the weekend of the wedding. I had to tell the client that I would be gone - and assure them that I had someone who was even better than me at being on call for the weekend.

Luckily Tom was up for the challenge. He had to bring his nibs and ink and be ready to write out any last minute place cards or escort cards. The bigger part of the job was putting out all the place cards and lining up the escort cards. It seems like there were 300 - 350 guests -- that was a lot of tables.

I had been in the planning meeting where the lighting people (from Chicago) assured the dining room people that the lighting would be done by 10 am. I knew that was not going to happen - but nobody is going to listen to the calligrapher if she casts doubt on the guys from Chicago who swagger around like they know how things go in Iowa. 

I also knew that you can't trust the people who set the tables to put the place cards on the tables - and it's not like they were regular place cards - they were belly bands (a strip of paper) that went around the napkin that was on the plate.

So, I had to get all of the napkins with paper bands done ahead and in Banker's Boxes - that would be labeled so that people who could read cursive - could get the names on the right tables.... it seems like an easy job... but it is way too challenging for some of the people who set tables - some are fine - but you can't be sure that there won't be one rogue who will make a crucial mistake.

And I knew the worst part was going to be protecting those boxes. Why can I see into the future?


Friday, March 15, 2024

To Tom from Amy - event stories without actual details

This is cute - and relates to Tom, I know one of the nice things he does for friends is dog sitting. Sometimes he even drives all the way to Kansas City and picks up the dogs. 

One of the first things I remember him doing for me was not just a volunteer job - but it was helpful on many levels. It was back in the day when I did a lot of work with an event planner. We were working on a huge wedding that was about 3 hours north of Des Moines and the event planner needed people who could come and spend the weekend at the location. 

Tom had a day job that was in the world of graphic design and web design for a nationally known company. But, I knew he did some moonlighting with a well known hotel chain which provided some nice discounts when he traveled. So, knowing he had hospitality experience, I recommended him for the job with the event planner.

One of my regrets is that I did not keep a log of all the stories of all the crazy things that happened at that job. It was crazy. I felt bad about getting Tom involved - but - apparently he thrives on crazy events - because he went on to work on many jobs for the event planner. 

I'm being careful about saying anything specific - which is too bad - because they are entertaining stories. It feels too gossipy to say more. Suffice it to say -- Tom saved the day on many occasions. 


Thursday, March 14, 2024

To Tom from Susan - critiquing stamps

This one makes me long for more monster stamps. I think I had 3 or 4 sheets of them at one time - and they are almost all gone.

By the way - when I saw the wall chart of all the stamps coming out in 2024 I was struck by how many of them were images that turned to mush at a distance. I'll have to look more closely - but it seemed like they were mostly based on photographs. The Ansel Adams stamps stood out for being black and white. You might want to get a few sheets of those. It seems like there are lot of beautiful envelopes based on just black and white - but not that many options for black and white stamps.

OK - I did further research - Dungeons & Dragons and Carnival - mush
Turtles, horses, shaker furniture, humming birds - photographs - all fairly mushy, colorwise.
The new 1 and 2 ounce set with watercolor flowers is mushy. Brighter, but still mushy.
And there is another orange-mush set - autumn leaves - mush.

The big hits - for graphic design are the round ones, the snowflakes, and Underground Railroad. 
Year of the dragon - and the red and white love stamp are nice.

Here's a link - maybe they won't seem mushy to you.

Or maybe it will be a whole lot easier to color coordinate envelope designs with stamps when the colors are not so specific.

And by mushy - I mean that there is no dominant color. I'm not explaining this very well.


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

To Tom from Leslie - Tom's cake

Fun and festive - thank you Leslie. As I fill the blog posts over several days, I forget what I have written and have jumped around - so apologies for the chaos - except chaos is our middle name. 

In the midst of the chaos, I received an email from Tom - gushing over how much he enjoyed the envelopes and how frustrated he was that he had not sent any kind of thank you - to me - or maybe to the whole group - he did not specify - and his email was like getting hit with the proverbial ton-of-bricks reminder that I was supposed to tell stories about Tom when I posted his envelopes. 

We've all known people who go above and beyond in helping others. If there were a Nobel Prize for Niceness - Tom would win one. And it is not just me -- it's everyone I know who knows him. I don't even. know which story to start with. 

I've known Tom for 30 years. We met through the (late) calligraphy guild - and we have stayed in touch. He's a very talented artist and it's not my place to relate all the things that he does for other people - but trust me - they are above and beyond. 
One quick story - during one of the guild weekend workshops - he found out that it was my birthday and baked me a cake to share at the workshop -- and decorated it with very clever *flags.* I think I posted a picture on the blog - I'll look for it - maybe. Part of me does not enjoy seeing the youthful Jean enjoying cake at a workshop. All things that are very dusty memories. <sigh>
here is a link to the photo - 
I'm the one on the right - my mom is the one on the left.
Currently, I am looking a lot like my mom <sigh>
But, it's worth seeing the cute idea for the cake.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

To Tom from Juliana - cardboard trolls

This is a very fun idea and goes nicely with the stamp.  Sorry for the short blurb - I've got more to fill.

Juliana has kids - so I'm tossing this idea her way - in case they want to be a family of trolls for halloween. If they like my idea - they'll probably need to get started.

There was an earlier post about the wooden trolls made by this artist - but this cardboard one is inspirational.


LINK to making yourself into a cardboard troll  this is a video with the instructions - probably not that interesting unless you like making things out of cardboard.

Monday, March 11, 2024

To Tom from Jessica - USPS story

 Very nice, Jessica - my favorite part is the dot-dot-dot-dot on each section of lace - and then the 4 dots on the zip code - subtle - but repetition is one of my favorite design principles.

The USPS story.
It's crazy complicated - so I will leave out the why and how it happened - but there is a car title that has been mailed to my older son's PO Box in Lake Tahoe. There is a forwarding notice at the PO - to send the title to my house - which will be my son's US address - because he is living in Whistler, BC (Canada).
We've been waiting for a couple months for the title to show up - and his plates are expired - so he really needs the title to get plates in Canada.

Nobody answers the phone at the PO in Tahoe - and he knows that they must be short of workers because the PO window is only open for a couple hours per day. People can access their PO boxes - but the window is on very limited hours. There is no door-to-door delivery in Tahoe.

So, I went down to our main PO and asked what could be done - about finding a piece of mail that needed to be forwarded. The head of the clerks at our main post office told me that they were about 3 weeks behind on processing the DM mail that was to be forwarded -- but she did send an email to the Tahoe office - asking them to look for any mail with my son's name.

It was interesting to find out one more place where the USPS can get bogged down - or bottle necked. It was really nice of her to even bother with helping me. 

Update--  more forwarded mail has been arriving - no car title yet -- 
I read the USPS union newsletter - and sometime in April - I'll post what I learned. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

To Tom from the Westchester scribes

I think this is Irene's

I think this is Lynne's

I think this is Maggie's 

There are three people in Westchester County who exchange. When my daughter (with husband and first grand baby) lived in Stamford CT for a year - I discovered the Westchester airport which pretty much saved my sanity. It's small - but a perfect alternative to driving into LaGuardia. Mostly, I am very proud of myself that I discovered it all by myself. My daughter and son-in-law - world travelers - had no idea that there was a charming little one-room airport - right in their back yard.

The *gates* are doors, at ground level - where you walk out the door and then you walk between painted lines that guide you to your plane. There are people watching to make sure you stay between the lines. Then you climb the stairs. A real trip down memory lane so to speak.

I went to the website to see if I could find a good photo - and the have a photo of the traditional *tube thing* to walk through - so maybe they have added it since I was there - 9 years ago.

I'm 99% sure that I have the right names on the envelopes - if not - I am sure they will alert me. 

Once again - I am bumping my USPS story to tomorrow.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

To Tom from Mary - Electronic paper


Mary has had some problems with mail being returned to her - even when the lettering was clear. She's consulted with me on what's going on - and on one - I could see where the space between the house number and street name might have been confusing. I have no idea if the scanner can pick up something like this. I still hope to find a postal worker who will talk to me. 

I had a postal story in mind, but now I am going to bump it to tomorrow.


I do not recall where I got this link - I think from the BigHelpfulBrother. It's about electronic paper. I remember finding it interesting - but now I do not recall anything. I struggle with electronic things. I have a whole box of electronic things and I need to lure him over to my house to discuss what to do with them. I'm posting this so that he can be stockpiling excuses for why he can't help me with something that is beyond my comprehension. We have a long history of him trying to impart knowledge into a receptacle that was not having it. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

To Tom from Patty --- The Gentle Penman


Eleven posts to write -- I know Patty personally - and we might discuss the pros and cons of 4, 6 or 8-pointed snowflakes. But only if she remembers to bring it up. Since her career was in the education universe - she'll have a lot to add to the conversation. She gets A+ for being consistently supportive of my admonition to give the USPS a nice clear address that the scanners can pick up. I have a USPS story for tomorrow.


I do not recall if I have ever linked to The Gentle Penman - if I have - it's been a while. Over the years, there were a few different websites that popped up to offer online calligraphy courses. Then the pandemic swooped in and the whole world shifted gears to be more organized about online options. 

I do not know the Gentle Penman - he seems young and he is not on the list of instructors - so, I'm guessing he was the magic person who showed up and figured out a way to build the largest stable of most highly skilled scribes who are willing to teach. It looks like he is in Hong Kong. Now I'm curious to learn more about him. Oh - that was easy - click on the [About] tab -

Maybe everyone already knows about The Gentle Penman - if not - happy surfing - here is the list of instructors. It was fun for me to see how may of them I have met personally (hint: they are the ones with gray hair) - I've met 13 of them -- taken classes from 7 - back in the olden days when we classes were in person.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

To Tom from Gloria - puzzle prints

I love that circle. I want to do more circles. I love copperplate. I do not see much copperplate in my future. I just see frantic typing. Sorry.


Here is something for anyone interested in printmaking. The artist lives in the Netherlands. The first link is to the main Instagram link - and the second one is to the particular listing that shows a very cool way of cutting the actual *block* into puzzle pieces - and putting different colors of ink on each one - and then putting the puzzle together. A very clever way to get many colors without having to get all the different parts to *register.*

LINK to Tatianasta's IG

LINK to *puzzle* print technique

and if you are wondering how she keeps all the inks from drying before she gets around to pulling the print - here's another interesting page.

LINK to what inks she uses

This makes me want to return to printing - and the best part of this technique is that you can do it all at home - you do not need a press.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Extra post - Lloyd Reynolds book

 Today's regular post is below.

I have a spare copy of the Lloyd Reynolds book - Weathergrams.

If anyone would like to pay the postage - I will be happy to send it to them.

The book is digitized - but some people still like hard copies

LINK to digitized Weathergrams  

There are a couple on Amazon - and people are asking $40

If you are interested - email me:  ptenvelopes(at)aol(dot)com