Saturday, December 31, 2011

mimi's moose & patti's korrection

i posted the red envelope to patti a couple weeks go. she politely reminded me that her name is spelled kommer and not comer. as usual, when i have to fix an error, i find an opportunity to improve the overall design. i like stacking double letters and this gave me a nice M for the city. i can't wait to write in the street address. it will be stacked in the space between the r and the zip code.

although, i might have to post it one more time, since i think those black snow flake/asterisk things on the stamp need to be repeated on the envelope.

sorry about the clashing colors. this was from the ornament series. i took off the ornament stamp and added a moose. that green clashed with the ornament stamp, too.
i was playing with the galaxy markers. they are very good for scribbling.
 and the combination of metallics with regular colors is really fun.

Friday, December 30, 2011


i was mindlessly scribbling before i washed out the gouache brushes. i did not have a stamp or person in mind, just doing some backgrounds. i am not a big *background* person, but, once in a while i will do a stack of backgrounds just to have on hand.

chuck is a sports writer, and has covered the olympics several times. as i look at this on the screen... i would not put this one in my all time favorite category. but, it's OK.

note to ann: i just saw your comment that you received the envelope i sent. for the readers who do not recall, ann was the one who inspired me to do some designs to go with the canadian stamps. and she kindly sent me an envelope and i returned one. or, i guess it was two. i never know what to put in an envelope. sometimes it is just easier to do two envelopes. so far, nobody has ever complained.

if anyone else has posted a comment and i have not responded. repost, as i will probably not be digging back into the files for a few weeks. i have a couple big projects going on and have lined up envelopes from now until jan 19th. then on jan 19th, i will be featuring a series that will go to my friends at the cream city calligraphy guild in milwaukee. i am going to attempt to do 1 envelope for each member and i think they have about 100 members, so, that series should take us into april. yikes, time really flies when you have a daily blog.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

my mail

below the envelope is a detail of the card that arrived from nan.  she's slings a mean pointed nib, eh?
the scanner let me scan about 20 envelopes this morning, but, now blogger is  not letting me arrange things on the page. so, this one will just have to look unbalanced. sorry nan, you deserve a better post. maybe i will try to repost it...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

kathy 31

i have lost track of which kathy envelopes i have, i'll check back on the blog and see if this is a repeat. if it is, i'll post something different later today.

the sentence above was written on oct 4, 2010. so, even if this appeared before, i like the idea of writing a thank you on an envelope....or a postcard. i imagine the postal workers would be entertained by having more things to read.

(yes, this is another one in the pile of 31 drafts in the draft folder)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

keith 17/50

i was trying to make this look child-like. i used my non-dominant hand.

another one from my stack of scheduled posts, that were in the draft file. i don't think it was ever posted.

Monday, December 26, 2011


this might be the last of the ornament envelopes. i really like the quirky script that looks like the ribbon. this is gold galaxy marker and blue galaxy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


these two are experiments from when i was struggling with the ornament stamps. the top one is a *hot mess.* i don't like to throw anything, i'll just drop it in the mail. i cut off the bottom of the scan which had plenty of space for her address.

the second one is not pleasing, but at least i stopped. the white background on the stamps just didn't go with the black envelope. so i added those white rectangles. that didn't solve anything. so, i just mailed it
to jeri.

the number of page views is way down, so, i can tell everyone is preoccupied with something....

an old holiday card

this one is pretty old. i have no idea if i ever posted this one. it's been lost in a stack of unfinished blog posts. i think i will put it in the line up and have it pop on the 25th. and maybe i can find an envelope that complements it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

my mail

another very pretty card and envelope from one of my penpals. i didn't ask permission to post this, so i hope it is OK. there are only a couple of you who have posted anything about not sending me anything for fear i would post it on the blog. so, i will assume that anyone who sends me mail is OK with me sharing it.

trust me, the people who read the blog like to see anything and everything. there is no *judging* here. except for patti. remember, she;s the one who said she is going to send the worst envelope ever....we are all eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Friday, December 23, 2011

my mail

 the top envelope is another one i received from a student in my fall class. again, i am so impressed with the details and the time she spent on this envelope. i only wish she had been a mouse in the corner when patti comer stopped over with a quick job for me. as i was lettering some photo captions for her, i commented, "gee patti, you should take one of my classes. you would enjoy learning how to do some fun lettering."  then i pulled out this envelope and said... "see what you could do after just one class?" she was very impressed and as i said, i just wish the person who sent the envelope could have heard all the glowing comments. i included the card in the scan because i LOVE edward gorey.

then i told patti about my blog and she said...oh, boy, i am going to send you the worst envelope ever, and then you'll have to post it on your blog. so, i'm eagerly awaiting patti's idea of the worst envelope ever.

then, i tried to convince patti that she could easily cut sticker paper and make fun letters and she bolted. so, i took the sticker paper and made an envelope for her. then, i found some of those reinforcement circles and added those. i think i am going to add a bunch more. i don't have her address, so i have to find it before i finish this.  i think i will look for some other vintage xmas stamps. i think an assortment will look better. anyhow, we are all looking forward to patti's mail. she has grandkids, so she should start sending them more mail. sorry about the big space between the copy and the scan. i can't quite figure out how to move elements around on the blog page.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

my mail

 this came in the mail from one of my fall semester students. this was her very first calligraphy class and she was very drawn to the envelopes and cards. the stocking is cut out and i put it on a piece of red paper to scan it. i am so impressed with her attention to detail. i did not ask her permission to post this and i hope that some of you take time to post some comments so she knows how much you all enjoy seeing examples besides mine.

then...the envelope is also delightful. she came up with the JEAN  on her own. i like the way she used the shape of the stocking for the J, but did not worry about making every letter into an object. the candy cane, snowman and hat are all perfect little details that illustrate the season.

thank you so much :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

more moose

susan's improved and mailed envelope is the one on the right. i never did figure out antlers that i liked. i liked the arrangement of the stamps and ended up putting her street address above her name.

then i realized i only needed to use three stamps and wanted to drop another envelope in the mail to susie. i like those antlers ok. the problem is that the animal is not green, so, it gets confusing. i just wish i had all day every day to work out these animalized alphabets.

the susie address will be tiny under her name.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

my mail

you should see this one in person to appreciate how pretty it is. susan creates original art and then has it printed in thermography so it has a nice raised and shiny surface.

the inside has more holly and says
& merry new year

i shall be appropriating that idea some year (mixing the merry and happy) i'll probably appropriate the holly, too.

and check out the address. three swoops makes for a very festive envelope if you want to dress up the address, but don't want to spend 5 or 10 or 20 minutes on each one.

Monday, December 19, 2011

my mail

here is my holiday envelope from jeri. i love it. also, i am curious why the a and n and o have some white lines added to them? every letter has a dot, but why only three with lines. just curious. jeri does not make comments, so she will email me and i will relay the answer in the comment section.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

bernard maisner video
i don't remember if i posted this yet.
just found it in a stack of emails.

moose stamps

i bought a whole page of moose stamps to send some moose mail to stacey. then ann-margret, my first blog-based-penpal sent me an envelope from canada. i told her i would send her an envelope. now, she will see it before it arrives. i thought the moose, or elk or whatever that antlered animal is would be welcome in canada.

then, i needed to send a holiday mailing to susan and i thought some antlers would be fun. but, they looked goofy, so you will see an improved susan envelope in a day or two.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

rob roy kelly

this is the original logo for the guthrie theatre in minneapolis. when i was a kid, i remember loving the logo. they have a new one now. but, something about the ribbons on the ornament stamps made me think about this logo. i love the internet because it only took a few clicks to find the logo and learn all kinds of interesting things about the designer, rob roy kelly. he made an enormous contribution to design, design schools and students. i did not see any envelopes. but, there was one nice section on obsessions. he collected wood type and old kitchen ware. he also had 4 favorite recipes listed.

so here is my guthrie inspired envelope.

the link above will take you to John Neal's Facebook page, where you will see a row of envelopes at the top. Click on the first envelope and you can flip through many beautiful envelopes and also some pages from books and a few book covers. When you get to the pages and covers, keep flipping. More envelopes show up later.

Friday, December 16, 2011

main p.o. in des moines

i was at the main post office today and they have an adorable little mailbox set up. i took a photo with my phone so it is just low-res. above the word LETTERS, it says North Pole. so, i guess kids can mail their letters to santa. it is an actual mailbox. one of the old ones that looks like it is made out of cast iron. very cute. i need to hijack some cute little kid and get a photo of a kid mailing their letter to santa.

sadly, the evergreen stamps are sold out and they said there would be no more. 

my mailbox

a pretty envelope from one fine calligrapher. i love the way she made all the add on stamps fit in with the 37-cent stamp. i met her in a class. i was the teacher, but i probably have learned more from her than she ever learned from me....note to self, refund her tuition.

another blog post that was hiding. i'm pretty sure i have not already posted this envelope. if it has already been on the blog, let me know and i'll put up something new for today

Thursday, December 15, 2011

canada with gold

i have several holiday envelopes started. they were is a stack that was buried. when i pulled this out, i thought of the canadian stamp and figured it would be pretty with gold ink on black. it is probably too late for this to be a usable idea. but, i thought it was worth posting for future reference.

if i move to canada, i will put the address in one line across the envelope, under the name.

as i am typing this, it is dec 5th and i have posts ready to go until the 15th. i think i should stop with the holiday posts and save them for next year. but does anyone want to see valentines in december?

maybe some of my scribe friends have been sending me envelopes to post???

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

john's holiday

here is the ribbon writing in gold galaxy markers on red. white dots and white writing are also galaxy markers.

i am beginning to think the solution to these stamps is to not pay to much attention to them.

the ribbon writing is enough to coordinate with the stamp. of course, these envelopes are pretty dreamy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

nan kitten tangle

how fun is this? nan turns out heaps of serious envelopes for hire. she says in the note that it is not her forte...but, i appreciate that she took a moment to do something playful and drop it in the mail.

Monday, December 12, 2011

amy's holiday

i really enjoy ribbon writing, but i am finding these colors very non-holiday. i usually like alternatives to the old red green. and i like this shade of green for the holidays, and i like the green with the maybe it is the gold that is throwing me off.

many problems with the green markers. too many layers, but, i'll let this one go. it might be one that looks fine once i see it on my home computer. this one doesn't seem to give me a really clear image.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

xmas lights

a variation on the air hose writing. i added holiday lights. i think i need to do a little research into the shape of lights. for some reason those are looking more like leaves.

after i did this scan, i took a white gel pen and added a highlight to each light bulb and i think that helped a lot. however, i did not have time to rescan. i hope to just do another light bulb envelope.

also, if you want to watch yves leterme (belgian scribe) in action, this is a nice 7.5 minute video.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

mimi's birthday

happy birthday mimi. i love the snowmen stamps. this is done with galaxy markers. john neal sells them and they are really fun on waste not paper, which is the brand of paper you get at paper source. the address will go in the white box. i found some stickers at office max that are non-see-through. i guess that would be opaque. but, i can't remember what the word is on the label. this needs snow flakes. not sure i will have time to rescan.

yup. had time. i cropped off her address.
i decided to take the sticker off and address it with a white gel pen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

from jeri

how cool is this? wilma is my mom and she lives in the other side of the duplex where i have my studio. i can't get her into penmanship, so jeri sent her a pattern to try to get her into quilting. clearly jeri's quilting skills have her programed to line things up in rows. now i need to go make a quilted envelope for her. too many ideas...too little time...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ribbon writing

 i found these two as i was organizing my big boxes of envelopes. the big ribbon names were not done by me. they were done by someone who came to our card party to address about 100 envelopes. this is a good example of how nice it is for people to copy something they see but not be a slave to the original. this is much different from mine, but, i really like the quality of the line and the way they have fewer twists to the ribbon.

these two would look great with the holiday ornament stamps. the outlining was done with a black pigma micron (probably)
and the color looks like colored pencil to me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

grease pencil removal

this is a second post today. don't miss the one right below.

when elizabeth saw her envelope with the nasty grease pencil scribble, she went into *jean-mode* and scoured the internet looking for methods to remove grease pencil... and sent them to me. one suggestion was to use a DRY Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. she had not heard of them. i have been a big fan since they came out a couple years ago. they are AMAZING at removing all kinds of things. it never occurred to me to use it dry...and it was truly MAGICAL...but only on the stamps. the stamps are coated paper and the Mr. Clean removed every speck of grease pencil.

the uncoated envelope only smeared. so, i went to my favorite cleaner... Bestine. it is a very bad chemical and is the solvent for rubber cement, but, it really cleans off sticky residue and all kinds of things. so, i keep it on hand for emergencies only. it took off about half the grease pencil. but there was still some serious smudging. so, i went over it with a white gel pen. next, i will mix up some gouache to match the off-white envelope and go over the too-white gel pen. i probably will not scan this one again. but, i did want you all to know about the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

note to ann-margret, your envelope arrived :-)
thanks, i will send one to you within a week.
is it OK to post your envelope on the blog?

anyone else who would like an envelope from me may send me a request and i will send an envelope. but your request must arrive in a decorated envelope. i will only post the ones that people agree to have posted.. i won't post your envelope on the blog if you prefer to not have it posted.


i created monsters in my last class. i know this because they made this card for me. i invite people to visit my studio after the last class. these two students were really fun and they caught the bug to make fun envelopes and cards, too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

computer smudging

i'm so excited. i figured out how to smudge again.
twelve years old. yikes. i remember how much i enjoyed this style. lots of layers. i like the wonky-ness of the p.o. cancellation at the top.

maybe i should do some more happy new year envelopes. i am writing this on nov 21, so, it is before t-day and i am pondering how many days i should devote to xmas envelopes. and should i observe all the other holidays. and i need to put in some canadian stamp ideas. i'm almost in the mood for valentines....

Monday, December 5, 2011

nan red madonna

another sample from nan. white ink is dreamy. i'm not sure what kind nan likes. ziller is acrylic so it makes a nice waterproof ink. i like Ziller and i also like McCaffrey's. Both are available from John Neal.

i like how i have no repeat colors form nan. i wonder if she keeps a chart of what colors she has sent me....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

john neal big blue

i ordered some supplies from john and sent him a check. this is a lesson in layering. i wrote the name once with a bullet marker (fat round tip) it was blah, so i went over it with a wider blue marker, either brush or chisel, making the strokes rather squared at the ends. then i added shades. then i looked for stamps and used the red and black on the stamp to direct the address. it is not an award winner, but, it is pleasant. also, a lesson in scale. make the name as big as possible and the address as small as possible. going to extremes is a quick and easy way to punch up an envelope.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

more canadian stamp ideas

here is a non-slanty version of the one that appeared about a week ago. also a green version. i did these two before i knew that ann-margret's name only has one -a-  margret not margaret.

i've mentioned using the minor color in the stamp for the main color in the name. in this case, i think i like the bottom one better, where the main color in the stamp is the same as the main color in the address.

the success of many envelopes is getting the colors right. this stamp looks like there is a lot of blue in the green. i tried a marker called sagebrush and it looks pretty good. Lime green would be icky, IMHO.

the shapes of the letters in the lower sample are spiked, like the holly. these are just quick ideas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

postal grinch

so it looks like the grinch took a job at the post office and brought his icky black grease pencil and is scribbling all over my mail. what a shame. does anyone know if bestine will take the grease pencil off?

this is from my penpal elizabeth. thank you so much :-) i love that pop of red. i always love monochromatic, but when i see a pop of color, i see the value of some bright spots.

compare this to the one below and you will probably agree that the one with the pop of color is a little more interesting. but, i do like the softness of the one below. it goes with the softness of the teddy bear. and the softness of some of those wispy weeds that beth and i like.

brush lettering with weeds

an oldy. beth dropped off a few of the envelopes that i sent to her over the years. i remember someone gave me about six tan colored brush markers. they were not zigs, but i do not recall what brand. this lettering is not the best, but, the idea of writing tall and skinny with a pale color and then outlining is not a bad idea.

the little dotty things are weeds. beth and i both like weeds and all kinds of plant materials. she's learned to enjoy drawing by drawing seeds and pods and very small things.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

fred's halloween

i had not done the F or the R or the Y or the X. so, here they are. i do not know if there is any person named fred yax. i will google and find out....i did not put an actual stamp on this, but was happy to see that the garden of love stamps aren't too bad with the halloween letters.

(an hour later) i did google fred yax and found that there is a fred yax in joliet illinois, i even found his address. but, i am not going to post it here. now i am wondering if i should mail this to him....a random act of mail art.

this one was bumped after i received the halloween envelope from elizabeth. again, apologies for the disorganization...if i were more organized, i would pull out one of my pithy quotes on the boredom of being too organized or the creativity of being disorganized... or the balance of having some things organized, but not others.

another update...just bumped this one again...and, after i scanned it, i colored it in with colored pencils and it looked so much better. time to rescan. you'll just have to buy the CD when i rescan everything and offer it in a CD.

bumped  again.... it will be halloween 2012 by the time this one appears...maybe

no...i see it is scheduled to appear on dec 1st and that seems like a good date for the last halloween envelope. i went back and put a halloween *label* on every envelope with the halloween alphabet. so, now you can click on that label and see the entire alphabet.

and i started an xmas alphabet, but, decided to save it for 2012.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

more scribbles

again, this is just a scribbly layout. i used that border across the top of the stamp and did it all the way around. this would be fun to do if i had hours and hours and hours. again, i hope chuck wants to do an example of the right way to do borders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

scribbly upside-down

or maybe it looks better with the scrolly-doodle on the bottom. probably not. but, i have the scanner, i am not going to offend it by deleting anything.

scribbly layout

ann..this is one idea for the stained glass. i scribbled the general shape from the inside of the round window. at the bottom, i started doing a fine line. i;m not sure if i will do more on this, as it is just a layout. but, if you liked this idea, you could draw the idea once and then scan it and print it onto a bunch of envelopes. you would not have to redraw it each time.

now, if we can get chuck excited about drawing stained glass patterns, we'll have some spectacular examples of how this idea could be refined.

from chuck

my first holiday envelope. chuck has been making his own envelopes out of card stock. this is the alphabet we worked on at the last lettering get together that we have monthly at a shop in west des moines. any locals who do not know about may contact me and i'll put you on the list to get reminders about what, when, where. in my dreams, we film ourselves and do a webinar so you can all join us. we are very entertaining. (maybe not..but, we are if you like lettering)

Monday, November 28, 2011

scanner woes

 i did 5 envelopes for ann. the scanner scanned one, then it did this wacky tilt.
then it refused to read the colors.
honestly, i have no idea what i did to offend my scanner. i try so hard to be friends with it. anyhow, if i lived in canada, i might do envelopes like these.

the canadian stained glass window stamps are pretty, and i tried a few ideas. maybe tomorrow the scanner will want to scan.