Sunday, June 30, 2024

The end of May, outgoing


I watched a short video of someone writing like this on IG and a few days later I thought about it and wondered if I could remember the steps. It's not quite right and I forgot to photograph it after I finished it.

Here's my practice - or maybe the top one was practice and then after I did the envelope I realized that the shadow should have gone on the left, so I did it that way and -yes- that would have been better. Don't worry, there is nothing about this style that makes me want to do more of it so nobody has to worry that some kind of atrocity will show up in the July exchange.

Here are some that have already run where I added something that was an improvement - although the additions are pretty subtle - mostly just filling in the ribbon writing with some color or shading. On Janet's I added the cords to *hang* the piñata lettering. The layout is a little clunky, but, I'm seeing ways to make it a lot more fun - so there will be more piñatas.

This is a little P.S. to the quilt project. I added this to one of the posts - but I assume people don't ever go back and re-read posts. When I mentioned fussy cutting - where you choose specific flowers from a pattern and center them in a hex - this is an example of the quilting gods smiling down on me because when I bought the fabric, I figured that would be more than enough - but when I realized how many different flowers there were and wanted to find matching ones - it turned into a very challenging puzzle and thankfully there were exactly 6 of each of the two flowers x times 2 quilts = total 24 flowers -- I saved this piece to illustrate how wasteful fussy cutting is. It's hard to decide how compulsive to be about quilting. My *save-every-scrap* nature tends to be the stronger compulsion. 

Saturday, June 29, 2024

May to Sharen - everything - part 2

NOTICE: On a web page version of the blog - in the right hand column is an exciting new option to have the daily blog post show up in your email each day. Blogger used to have that option but they took it down. Alert reader Mia sent me the info about a while back and I finally got around to installing it - with the help of the BigHelpfulBrother who only went grrrrr twice and then we got it done - in 5 minutes. Yay. You will not see it on your phone unless you click on [View web version]

 Aaaarrgggh. Why did I put all the flowers at the top of the SH? Did I make an O and then turn it into an E? Yes, I did. 

Part 2 - of the list of everything I have ever done - 
The main thing I do is lose things. I have lost the list.
I'll just re-do the list of *needle-arts* off the top of my head - 

counted cross stitch
needle point
a bit of quilting

I wonder if I am forgetting anything -- I think I braided a rug one time - I wonder what happened to it - 

The other thing I thought about if we want to reflect on things we have done 
is cooking -- I really enjoyed trying to make things at home and the two craziest things I ever tried were bagels and croissants. Not because they are especially hard to make - but both times, I had never had one and was trying to make them to see what they tasted like - the people who tried mine and who had experienced the real thing told me that mine were not quite like the actual ones but they were still tasty. If you know how to make yeast dough, it's pretty hard to make something that doesn't taste yummy - even if it does not match the authentic item. 

There have been additions to the careers list - and the topic will come up again in July or August - I really enjoy hearing from pen pals - we are quite the conglomeration. 

Friday, June 28, 2024

May to Linda and Mary - Everything I've ever done (Part 1)


Linda's is just like Mia's which has already been posted. I did the same thing for the two international envelopes in May. Here is another May envelope. I'm going with alphabetical order this time as it's my last ditch effort to not get confused about what has or has not been posted.

Sadly, I am still working out fun ways to work with these stamps. I needed to do two ice cream cones for the M and the party hat for the A. The R could have been a very clever feather or Band-Aid -- and what the heck is a Band-Aid doing on a party stamp? 


This is the start of a topic that grew out of a conversation with Karl. We have corresponded for a while and it started as long distance tutoring because he wanted to learn Spencerian. His progress has been remarkable. I'll link to his IG so you can see examples - and if you have time to surf, you will notice that he is very talented beyond penmanship. His stitching/sewing is superb.  this link is stitching this link is penmanship

IMHO there is a lot of crossover between penmanship and stitching - fine motor skills and consistency in repetitive motions. 

Our conversation about which of the needle arts we've each done made me ponder how many different *maker* things I have actually done. My list is neither here nor there for readers - I am only sharing it because it might be fun for others to reflect on how many things they have tried over the years. 

I'll break it into categories - first one will be the traditional arts - starting with learning to hold a pencil and ending up with a degree in fine art and a major in painting.


Crayon coloring and colored pencils and regular drawing pencils - life long mediums

Pastels and chalk - can't stand them - dislike dust - (see ceramics)
Painting - Watercolor (ho hum) - acrylic (BFA major) - gouache - my favorite paint medium, discovered through calligraphy in my 40s

I lumped a variety of things into drawing and painting 

Printmaking - LOVED it - but started late (in 50s) and it was too hard on my hands. We could do an entire post on all the different types of printmaking from rubber stamping to copperplate etching - but we won't.
Jewelry - did not like it at all - metal fights back - was better at casting because you form the piece out of wax - had a few decent pieces. Attempts at jewelry confirmed of my lack of skill with 3D - I'm very 2D
Photography - took a few classes in college - learned the old school way of developing and printing - enjoyed photography - and have a few *great* shots - but once things went digital - I knew I wasn't a candidate for sitting at a computer learning all the fantastic options -- I'm too much of a minimalist -- Photoshop was/is overwhelming. Had wonderful experiences working with professional photographers during my graphic designer years.
Bookbinding - one of my all time favorite journeys. Another one that I came to late - but sure enjoyed it. It's hard on the hands - so I retired after a few years.
Ceramics - it seems like I might have mentioned this. A friend of mine had graduated with a degree in ceramics and signed a lease on a space for a studio and retail shop to produce hand thrown pots. Another recent grad signed the lease as well, but he got cold feet and wanted out. I convinced my friend that she could do it on her own and I would help her. Well, she must have been really naive because I had zero experience in ceramics - and thinking that I would be enough help was a very risky move.

I figured I could do all the parts that did not require skill. Like pugging the clay. You buy clay in powder form, add water, and *stir it up* in a pug mill. Dirty, hard work - but I could do it. We also discovered that I could churn out all kinds of pointed brush designs on the pots. Then, I would head out to art fairs with her. I was 20-something - so had plenty of energy - and could lug those crates of pots from the VW van to the art fair booth. I sure wish I had some photos from those days.

There is a longer story - that ended up with a guy who had a lot of pottery experience hanging around - and I made a graceful exit. My friend ended up with a husband. They recently retired - after churning out ceramics for almost 50 years.

Bottom line - I would have enjoyed a full time job doing the glazed designs on pots - but, Oh.My.Gosh. the rest of the steps are not my cup of tea.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

May to Leslie - careers


This one would have benefited from some practice - to get the arcs smoother - and the little detail that I pulled from the stamp wants to be *more* - but I was concerned that it would get too fussy. You probably can't ever see the tiny little doo-dads that are inside the arcs. No - I added them later - so they aren't in the photo. (edited the next day) Maybe I'll get another sheet of these stamps and redo every idea that needs to be pushed further. I really like the black borders on the stamps - they allow for a nice bold address.


Remember a few weeks ago when we found out that there was an archeologist/reader/exchanger who was willing to weigh in on topics? I've emailed with some of the people who exchange and have learned of a few of our careers. Here is a list of the ones that I can recall. If you would like to add your career to the list - send me an email.

In no particular order:


Calligrapher - hobbyist

Calligrapher - professional 

Art teacher

Reading teacher

Home schooler



Postal worker


Pastor’s wife

Career wife and/or mother - an under-rated career if there ever was one

*Money guy* - I think this person declined to use the title accountant because they did not have a degree in accounting, but clearly they did the job of an accountant.

College professor 

Speech pathologist

I guess I should start a chart - and keep a tally of how many of each.
There are more than one in several categories - and obviously everyone can put themselves into that last one.

Purpose of this survey: chore avoidance

Here are the additions to the list received in the days following the original post
Thanks to everyone who responded.

Forest fire lookout

In case it looked like I had soooo many people responding - 
I am clarifying that some of these careers/job listings came in from people who covered
the entire arc of their work-life.

One person asked about my careers - and I realized I had only done babysitting and then fell into graphic design - which led to motherhood - and then when youngest was 7 years old - I fell into calligraphy which expanded into teaching art and calligraphy - so - I've been *art* all the way.

One person's arc
Lawn Maintenance
Potato chip factory worker
Data entry (the worst)
Social worker
Care giver in children's homes
Home healthcare worker with the elderly

One person's arc
Ranch hand
Air Force officer and pilot
Computer coder/developer
Concrete worker
Auto mechanic
Well digger
Caretaker of livestock
Corn detassler
Truck driver
Clerical worker
Receivables clerk
IT manager
Software developer

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

May to Kristine - Last quilt comment


This one is towards the end - when I was getting looser and I rather like it. I was tempted to fill the name in with the same pattern that is on the envelope - but did not have a good way to practice - and was running out of time - so this is the final.


Additional thoughts - for the quilters - the rest of you should just get on with your day - and skip this part.

One last comment about the quilt project. We have two shops that sell quilting fabrics and I visited both with the quilts to look for replacement fabrics. There are some companies that sell reproductions of 1930s fabrics. The owners of those quilt shops were thrilled to see the quilts and they were in agreement with me that doing a repair that would make the quilts usable rather than doing a museum quality restoration that would make them only show pieces was perfectly acceptable. 

We also noted that the *art of quilting* has changed a lot. There are machines to cut the blocks or hexes and then there are machines that will do all the quilting. So the only *handwork* is stitching the blocks together - which is seldom done by hand. The quilts I repaired were pieced by hand. The binding around the edge, which required two steps had the first step done by machine and the second by hand. 

I suppose there are still a few people who quilt by hand. It's not like it's a lost art. Anyone can see *how* to do it. The question is how even can you make those tiny stitches. And then the ultimate question: how long does it take. It occurred to me that the readers who are quilters might be pondering - how much time did Jean put into this project. 

And there might be people with more ideas on how to source the perfect fabrics -- but I've already mentioned that my least favorite part of the project was looking for fabrics that would be good enough. *Perfect* fabric would have been cotton lawn - but I had no idea where to find that, much less find it the right colors and prints.

I have no idea how much time I spent on actual stitching. I got faster as I went along - but it was easily 50 hours and maybe closer to 100. I spent a significant amount of time futzing around considering options ....and then with the solid colors that I replaced... there was some washing and bleaching and distressing....aaakkkk...and I changed my mind on the border and ripped out the first repairs and redid them.....I'm happy and Caroline and Tracy are beside can put this project in the category of: Yes, that is something that I have done and boy did I learn a lot. I'll probably do some more repair on these two - but, if anyone asks me to repair a quilt, I'll be able to decline without feeling guilty or selfish. I'm happy to have rescued the quilts and given them some more years.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

May to Kate - Quilt project 3

As previously mentioned, I often start with Kate's name - it doesn't have any of the problem letters - and it's a good one to noodle around with when I am pondering ideas. I had not done a *Jordan* style for Kate and had some larger envelopes - so figured her full name would work out. I was pretty happy with the black and then not sure I could make that stamp work. It was a lot of steps - and for a while it did not look promising at all - so it was super fun when it all came together. Kate has gotten a lot of duds - due to me doing hers while I am in my warm up phase --- it was fun to finally get a pleasing one for her.

Here are the finished quilts. It's fine - the goal was to do repairs that would blend in and I think I accomplished that. I also learned a lot - and it could have been better if we had spent more time finding more perfect replacement fabrics. But, I find that I am no longer excited about searching for things that I don't even know if they exist. There are ways to print images on any kind of fabric you like through Spoonflower and I could have created art to do that - but the expense of ordering fabric and not really knowing how the colors would look made that an unattractive option. All totaled - I spent less than $12 on replacement fabrics.

There's also the matter of quilts that have been aging for 90 years - it's hard to find fabrics that feel the same - worn to a softness. While it's not museum quality restoration - they can be used on a bed - and washed carefully - and I think that's better than having something that can only be admired rather than used.

Here they are, back home - in Caroline's guest room. They still need a few more repairs - but, I'll save that for next fall or winter when I won't have the weeds tormenting me.

Yes - that one red flower is jarring. I would have changed it - but Tracy wanted to keep it. I'm aware that a lot of quilters like to put one jarring element into a quilt - and so I was fine with maintaining the integrity of the original quilter's decision. 

If you are curious about whether the two quilts are exactly the same - they are. Or rather they were - oddly,  all the fabrics that shredded were the same on both quilts - except for one. But, I don't think it is noticeable.

A couple more photos I took at my house before I returned them

Above is the second quilt before I started the repairs.
Below is the first one, finished.


Monday, June 24, 2024

May to Juliana - Quilt project - 2

 Here's one more attempt to make something as cute as Patty's envelope with a Thinking of You stamp. I tried this stamp on Paula's name and the four-leafed clover was terrible. These would have been fine if I had put the diagonal one with the leaves on the bottom. Also the cupcake needs to be larger. I can't figure out why that zigzag tiger design is so hard to duplicate. I'm not giving up yet - but... not impressed with how things are going.


When I put a tiny flower in the center of a hexagon, I cut out a flower and applied fabric glue around the edge. I tried Fray-Check - but it saturated the whole flower and was rather stiff. Hopefully the tiny blanket stitch around each flower plus the fabric glue will keep it from fraying. At least with my unorthodox methods - nothing is permanent. Someone could always un-do what I have done and redo it to more standard restoration.

Not all of the original hexagons were *fussy cut* flowers - so when I couldn't find anything that worked for a large fussy cut flower, I substituted a calico. The one above and the one below are calicos - which are much easier than fussy cutting.

On the one below, I found some fabric that worked to fussy cut - and I discovered that many of these prints look like they have the same flower repeated - but there are 4 or 5 flowers within the print that seem to be the same - but there are subtle differences. So then -- I'd find 6 of the same flower to fit in the hexagons that are joining what I called - flat to flat. The ones that are not replaced yet - are joined to the solid color hexes on two sides. So, I would find a different flower to fit those 6 spots.

And - when I am done - I will never stitch another hexagon. Two sides are on the grain but 4 sides are on the bias - and those 4 bias sides are not fun at all. Plus - none of the hexagons are symmetrical - they have all stretched a bit. I'll spare you the whining....
I added this a few days after this post ran - to show how much waste there is when you fussy cut. I was beyond lucky to find 6 of each flower for each of the quilts - a total of 24. That's exactly the amount of fabric that I needed - but so much waste. 

Sunday, June 23, 2024

May to Jessica - Quilt project - 1


This style of lettering is in my wanna-try folder. I used a marker and did this a few months ago - but it
has been lost in a stack. If I try again, I need to use nibs and ink. It was inspired by someone who only exchanged a couple times. It's medieval-ish. The madonna stamps looked better than any of the contemporary Forever's in my stash. It probably would have looked better with just pears. 


I know there are some quilters who read the blog so I'll share one of my side projects. Remember the envelopes to my friend Caroline? She has a pair of quilts that were made by a relative. They were made in the 30s and had two seriously tattered sections in the solid green border. Various bits of flowered fabric were threadbare. Repairing it looked like something I could do - until I looked more closely and I realized that they needed to be cleaned first and I was not comfortable washing them because I had no idea how the fabric would respond. 

Luckily we found an experienced quilt restorer who was willing to wash them and give me tips on the repair work. She was willing to take on the job of restoring the quilts as well - but the estimate on having a museum quality restoration was going to be very high and her process makes the quilts *look* identical to the original, but they are no longer washable - which means they are only for display. Caroline and her daughter, Tracy, and I thought it would be fine to do some *patching* and just cover the worn spots with fabrics that would blend in - and restore them to actually *useful* rather than just display pieces. 

It was fun pondering what the original quilter would have preferred. Maybe she would agree with us to go the useful route. Then we needed to find fabrics that fit in. Luckily Tracy and I have a friend who had a box of scraps from the 1930s and we found almost enough scraps to do all the repairs. 

The pattern is called *Grandmother's Flower Garden* and on these two quilts, the person did what's called *fussy-cutting* where the hexagons in the ring of 12 - has a flower positioned in the middle of each hex. We did not have any scraps that went with this one - and it was only the very center of each flower that was shredded. So I did some long basting stitches (almost like darning) to hold the flower together and then stitched a tiny flower on top - which you can see in the photo below.

If you look at the one below - once again, we did not have any scraps with the right sized daisies so I did another *Jeanerized* patch - where I just covered up the inner portion of the hexagon. The yellow flower doesn't make sense - stacked on the daisy - but our goal was to make the mending blend in from a distance. On the one below - the purple one - again, I only found one useable purple flower which had too much purple - so I only replace the portion of the hex that was inside the hand quilting.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

May to Jean - gifting rocks

I finished the last four letters in Jean's last name - making the outline bolder. I left it this way in the photo so that you could see the improvement. The first name might have been better filled in with something - but not more of that texture - maybe it's OK. The amount of white space is pleasing to my eye. Those stamps can handle a bold name and address.


If you have just dropped into this blog - we are talking about me meeting a lovely lady (LL) and our mutual love of rocks from the north shore of Lake Superior.

LL said wistfully, referring to her big basket of rocks - "I used to have so many more - but there was that big delegation from (insert an important country) who were in town for a conference and they were here for a dinner and admiring the rocks. We talked about where they were from and the people seemed sincerely interested in the rocks so I invited them to each take one...... and wouldn't you know it, they took THE BEST ONES."

I had an immediate sense of empathy. LL had a luxurious life on multiple levels - and yet here she was showing that weird *thing* we get for our *stuff.* Later, I pondered that it was probably silly to think that some of the stones were better than others. It's more about our hoarding nature - or something along those lines. Do people who live right on the north shore have a *thing* for those rocks?

At one time, I had a nice pile of north shore stones - and now I have forgotten what happened to them. I think I gave them to someone who was gaga over them.

Friday, June 21, 2024

May to Janet - Rocks as *art*


This is before I added to it. On the stamp, the piñata is hanging by a cord - so I added a cord on this envelope before I mailed it. Photo will appear on June 30.

Just a heads up that the blog will be returning to complete and utter chaos through July. As much as I love all the new organizational components that I have instituted, they all hinge on me actually doing things. And doing things hinges on me remembering - and that seems to be beyond my current skillset. Not in an alarming way - just in a way that will keep the blog chaotic.


One of the perks of being a calligrapher is that some of the clients have been pillars of the community who live in houses that are the equivalent of mansions. This is Des Moines, so they are not like east coast mansions or Chicago mansions, but they're lovely - and inhabited by people who run in different circles than I do. They do have parties - so sometimes I'd have jobs - and sometimes I would meet the person (rather than their event planner or personal assistant) and once in a while, I needed to deliver the job to their home, so I'd get a peek into a Des Moines style mansion.

At one of these deliveries, there was a large flat basket full of beautiful stones. They looked exactly like the stones that I lusted after that are on the north shore of Lake Superior. I was compelled to ask, "Are those stones from Lake Superior?"

Why, yes - they were - and the lovely lady of the house and I instantly bonded on the love of north shore rocks...... tune in tomorrow for HER story..... it's a doozie. 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

May to Irene - rocks as tools


This one has some problems - too much white space - bad spacing - and the letters get bigger and go uphill. I like *wonky* - but this needs either more wonk -or- to be more composed. This one came close to being tossed. 


Talking about prehistoric tools yesterday reminded me of one of my favorite tools. After college when I moved into my first solo apartment I needed to hang a picture. I did not have a hammer so I found a perfect rock outside and used it to pound in a nail. I kept it around and a friend saw me using it - and bought me a hammer. While I appreciated the gift, I kept the rock around and in some ways, nostalgic-Jean wishes she had kept that particular rock. 

If you have any good rock stories - please send them along. I like rocks - have always liked rocks - and still need to control the urge to collect them. Another rock story coming up tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

May to Grace - anthropologist & statistician


We've been calling this style *Jordan* and there have been some variations. This is back to the original. I hope it is not too simple for Grace. For my taste - it's balanced and  (brace yourselves for this next comment) I actually don't see anything that bothers me. Maybe I should stick to my minimalist point of view. Somehow, it seems like taking risks and trying wacko stuff is what keeps people interested. No worries - lots of wacko stuff coming up.


From time to time, I get very interesting emails from exchangers. When I was writing about the origin of tools, like saws - Mary wrote this:

Concerning the saw, your information from the internet is as accurate as it can be. I have a major in Anthropology and worked at excavations in college (which feels about archeological these days), and nailing down (pardon the pun) dates on tools is complicated. It's mostly based on archeological record, so tools that didn't survive time don't get counted. It's all guess work. Necessity is the mother of invention.  I'm guessing saws were not far behind axes which are one of the very first tools. 

First of all: it's so much fun to find out a few things about people who exchange. I did not ask Mary if I could reprint this - because we've chit chatted enough for me to guess that she is fine with me sharing this information. It has me launching a 3 day topic that is (to me) not so ridiculous that I wish I could come up with something else.

If Mary prefers to be anonymous, I will be happy to remove your name and just call you *an exchanger.* But maybe there are other archeologists in the exchange who are delighted to find a colleague. 


And this just in - again - I didn't ask Amy if she wanted to be mentioned by name - so she can let me know if she wants me to edit this.

I'm just curious -- is there anyone who has kept all of their exchange envelopes and keeps them filed by the sender? Or kept all of them and has a different filing system? Please let me know - at ptenvelopes[at]aol[dot]com

Amy is making a spreadsheet that tallies the people who have been on the same lists. We decided to do this when she found someone on her June list whose work she had seen on the blog - but she'd never had on her list. So now - I will be able to see if there are any more examples of pairs who have never found themselves on the same list. Amy and I share some kind of gene or chromosome that likes to tally things. Although she has the aptitude to do it - I only have the curiosity.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

May to Christy - Chantelle Hoffman


I did a few ribbon-writing envelopes in April and then decided to do some more in May. I should have stuck with the April idea that had some extra flourishing and flowers. So far, I have posted the May envelopes in alphabetical order. I'll spare everyone and not mention the parts that could be better.


Here is a fun idea for kids who are interested in calligraphy or penmanship.

LINK to Script Kids IG  at the top is the link to the website. It's something that Chantelle Hoffmann started. Subscription for boxes of penmanship supplies to show up monthly. 

LINK to Chantelle's main website  - lots of pretty examples on her website. I remember her name from way back - when she was a youngster. She now has 3 kids. I wonder how she's managed to keep up with everything. Maybe her kids just love penmanship and sit around writing all day?

Monday, June 17, 2024

May to Cathy - Brain talk

This one changed after I photographed it and not for the better - but it didn't get worse. I colored in some dots with pale blue and green - also added Cathy's last name in the space under the H. This one came close to being a *deep regret insert* in a better envelope - but, I thought it went well with the stamp. That sheet of stamps is fantastic. I might have to get some more of them.


Another tidbit from The Organized Mind that we've probably all heard before is that there are 2 major styles of functioning - one is when you are focused and your brain is cooperating with the plan for the current activity. The other is that *down time* when you are awake, but maybe staring off at something and your mind is wandering and random thoughts pop up - and sometimes it's one of those eureka moments in the shower - when the creative side is in charge.

Those two styles do not operate at the same time. I have no idea how much control people have over which style is turned on or how to switch if you need to. If I find out, I'll let you know. But the point that resonated with me - is that they do not work TOGETHER at the same time. It's one-at-a-time. 

For me - this totally explains the weirdness of so many things. This might branch into some other topics.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

May to Amy - thanking people

 We have finished the Caroline envelopes and her daughter Tracy wanted to give some kind of thank you - if she writes something up, I will include it here - in the mean time - here are portions of texts that she sent right after opening mail with her mom.

<snip> ....we are about bawling. The envelopes and messages inside are just out of this world and from everywhere...<snip> 

<snip>  Again, we are overwhelmed with this plethora of beauty and creative expression. What gifts. It just fills us with visual joy. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you...

AND - here is my own personal thank you:

It's time for a blanket thank you to the people who send me things. I had a bumper crop of email and snail mail, and goodies (including stamps) in April and now I have the dilemma of how to mention it and whether or not to express thanks to specific people.

OK - it is not a dilemma - I'm too disorganized to have an accurate list of who sent what - 

So - gushy thank yous - in equal measure - to the people who send stuff.

Shout out to the people who do not write or email... I see you in the statistics and am gobsmacked at how many of you there are.... thank you for being *silent partners.*


The add-on came first - hopefully this little flip won't cause any problems.

Remember the Thinking of You stamps - and the really nice one I did for Patty and the so-so one I did for Paula? Here's what happened with AMY. I can think of a much better way to do it. This stamp has no blue. There will be some other envelopes coming up with other stamps. I do like the dandelion on this stamp and might figure out a way to turn it into a letter. On this one, I wish I would have put the dandelion over by the Y and then had the little seed-fluffs spell out f-o-x--

Saturday, June 15, 2024

March from Carolyn, Jessica, Kristine and ??? - Jello/gelatin

We are ganging everything left in the Caroline folder - because there are no more *pre-scheduled* blurbs. I will be taking a 2 week sabbatical from blurb writing - and tomorrow will be the beginning of a new series. 

Carolyn's envelope to Caroline is fun a steal worthy - side note: Caroline pronounces her name Carolyn which means people are forever misspelling her name. There were numerous times when clients brought guest lists with Caroline's name and I had to politely inform them that they had the wrong spelling.

Fun envelopes from Jessica and Kristine -- and then ......

.... somehow I lost track of which envelope included these pretty yellow roses. It might have been Lynne.  

Also -- apologies to Susan - I know I saw her envelope - but I can't find a photo - I'll try to get one.



I came close to deleting this because it seems silly - but part of the blog's vibe is a little bit of silly from time to time. 

As promised - we will ponder Jello - however, in the UK it is called jelly. On IG there are videos of the molded items jiggling in slow motion. I imagine our coastal readers are rolling their eyes at all of this. Jello is a very midwestern thing. Although - with the way the costal people like crazy *new* things, it would not surprise me if gelatin based desserts will have their *moment* at some point.

and this is not my friend Caroline - it's another Caroline.

Friday, June 14, 2024

March from Lynne to Caroline - Catnaps for brains


Here is another bluebird of happiness from Lynne. When I was writing the blurb with Irene's bluebirds of happiness, I did not think there was any way that a search for where that expression came from would yield anything fun or interesting. Now - a few days later - as I am down to the very last 2 Caroline posts - I find myself needing to avoid the inevitable end-of-an-easy-task and return to the drudgery of life in a house with a yard and meals and laundry... so I searched - and if you need all kinds of fun info about bluebirds and why they have a long history of popping up in legends, stories, movies, poems, etc - here you go:

LINK to bluebird of happiness on Wiki


I only recommend this book (The Organized Mind) if you want to delve into all kinds of technical things with new words to remember. My Cliffy-Notes version might be tedious enough.

A point to keep *in mind* - I'm pretty sure *mind* is the part that *they* can't really figure out. They have figured out that we have all kinds of complicated *networks* in our head. And they can see the tangible parts - we could call it the *hardware* - but there is a ton of stuff going on that is intangible and not understood at all.

Here's the part *we* can understand. Your brain has all kinds of activities - but they do not all switch on when you wake up and stay on all day. We know that our brains are mostly *shut down* when we sleep - but recently it has been discovered that parts of our brain will literally *switch off* or go to sleep when we are not using them - to take little catnaps - and conserve energy - while we are still awake.

So THAT explains all the stupid forgetful stuff you do every day. YOU are not doing anything wrong - your brain is trying very hard to function - but it has this complicated operational system - and if the part of your brain that was going to bring the grocery list is napping as you collect your phone/wallet/keys and walk out the door --- then you'll end up at the store without your list.

Of course you could take a photo of the list - but that would require another part of your brain to be awake. The point is - don't be mad at yourself for all the things that go wrong. Keep track of all the things you actually accomplish. 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

March from Sharen to Caroline - The Organized Mind

Sharen, a newer exchanger, is launching her adventure with Spencerian. She also included some fun goodies inside the envelope. As I write this - it is the day after I received more Spencerian from her in the April exchange. Apparently she does not have a FearOfJean - and asked me for feedback. For anyone who has done a lot of copperplate - and then tries Spencerian - some of us who do something we call Spencerplate. It has qualities of both. I actually love Spencerplate - and think it deserves respect and to be a valid style. Spencerian has HUGE caps and tiny little lower case. Spencerplate keeps the proportion of cap to l.c. more like copperplate. The other difference is that Spencerian was designed to be a running hand, one used for writing letters - so it is often very s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d o-u-t. This can make it very hard to fit on an envelope. People who love the original Spencerian often use business sized envelopes to make things fit better.


While we do not get any clear answers, I did get food for thought from - The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin. Keep in mind, I only listen to books and my memory is sketchy - but, this might be close to what was written.

As *they* keep getting better at *seeing* how the brain works - there was something about the part of the brain that is associated with creativity and art - that lights up in the same way that the part that involves morals or something along those lines lights up. I'm using morals as the *thing* that would -in theory- make people be nice and polite.

<more snipping here - and eventually I wrote> - art became a *deeper thing.* 

And when I say art - I include music, theater, dance, sports, gardening, and every other activity that gives people that sense of *whatever.* 

There's another part of this to add - tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

March Troy to Caroline - unanswerable why's

 Troy is my go-to person when my *musings* veer into topics that are too heavy. Troy has a lovely sense of humor and during these trying times - we need to keep things light. Wreaths are like polka dots - universally lovely and should be on one of those lists I pull up when I need an idea.


That dead end we reached yesterday still weighs on my mind. It started with *why can't we all be polite* which is just a variation of *why can't we all get along....*

Don't bother Googling that question - there are a gazillion theories......  <snip>  I had to snip some chatter that was off in a direction that was too serious. The only part of *cultural differences* I care to talk about is how zany the people of New Orleans are. I loved the stories about celebrations that Troy shared with us. I suspect that once it gets HOT-HOT-HOT - there are fewer celebrations....but maybe not. Troy is welcome to shed some light on the topic.

There was more snipping - and then I wrote this: In some ways - I do think there is a common thread. Not one that will resolve any situations - but a nice one to keep in mind ---- something I read in another one of those *brain books.* More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

March from Juliana to Caroline -- politeness dead end


Juliana went with the blue + flower suggestion. She's also done the thing that I am doing quite often which is to corral the design in a panel on the left - leaving space for the address to be clear and scanner-friendly. 

Writing all these blurbs about Caroline has nudged so many memories out of the dusty parts of my brain. She used to show up at my studio, sometimes with co-hostess friends, needing custom invitations. It was always fun to work on her projects. It's too bad that so much of my work was done before phone-photos became a part of our lives. It would have been fun to have an archive of everything I designed for Caroline. I remember one invitation printed on brown paper bags. We had to figure out how to run them through the printer.


Yesterday I asked why it's so hard to be polite. I Googled the question and there were a variety of reasons. The one that popped out at me was *cultural differences.* That's a big one and it's not limited to the differences between brash Americans and not-brash other countries. I chose that example to be polite. Not all of us are brash - I know I've come across as brash - when inside my own head, I'm shy and retiring.

It still bothers me that there have been times when I was making a concerted effort to be diplomatic and polite - but my words came across as anything but.

This is a side-track that went off on a tangent - and I came back and edited it - so this is now a dead end.

Monday, June 10, 2024

March from Kate and Mary to Caroline - Legislating politeness


It's too bad that the top one from Kate got wet. It's the Ben Shahn lettering which I keep thinking I will return to. It has a puzzle quality - figuring out clever ways to join letters and which variation to use. Mary sent a nice lacy design - perfect for Carolyn.


Did anyone remember that on April 14th when Scarlet posted the answer to my *Me and Kate are going to lunch* grammar question - I said we would return to the topic on June 10? 

To recap - the grammatical rules about *me* and *I* only cover when we are talking about subject or object - and while I have that rule very clear in my head - I'm not going to get into it. You may read about it at Scarlet's link. LINK to a grammar lesson

Putting the other person first, prior to using *I* or *me* is not a grammatical rule. And, to be honest, it seems like there have always been gradual changes - so it's time to let this go.


For the those of you who either crossed paths with Alan Blackman or recall any of the times I wrote about him on the blog - he passed away on June 6th. His niece had let people know that he had been moved to a hospice and she posted her email so that people could send messages. This is what she wrote:

Hello lovely people, thank you all for your well wishes and love for Alan. I spent all day today reading them to him and showing him the pictures. He was mostly asleep but I felt like he heard me, I know for sure he heard some of them because he responded with his expressions. I told him he was being carried on this journey on an infinite cloud of love. He waited until I left and then he left too, not a half hour later. The doc said he was completely comfortable, no distress.

All my love to you who loved him.


If this is the first you've heard of Alan - you may do a search on the blog and see what all I have had to share about him. His envelopes were inspirational to me when I first connected with calligraphy and I credit him (along with Cheryl Adams) for my journey down the mail-art path.