Friday, September 30, 2011


i am still trying to figure out how to compose the blog posts. also learning how to borrow photos from other people. this was snapped by mimi in chicago, i think. i have no idea if she follows the blog on a daily basis. her caption under this photo was *who knew?*  you can say that again. actually, there is a feature length movie about the postal police.

and here is an envelope. i am cleaning out my stash of downloads. i do not recall where this came from. it is fun. i don't think it has been in a previous post.

the name of the file is *off with her head*

it looks like cut paper. or maybe computer art. the idea of a scene with the stamp sitting on top of something is an idea that could go in many directions. (a polite way of saying that it is a highly steal-able idea.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

beth brand

i should have scanned beth's note. she said something about being my biggest *fan* only, instead of the word, she drew a picture of a fan. beth was not an art major. she is a scientist and a teacher. she was drawn to lettering and i have really enjoyed our visits. she is the best example of someone who is persistent and asks good questions. i guess that sounds like a scientist.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

james is 1

here is the envelope that went with the invitation to my neice's baby's first birthday. christy was the person who was away at college when i had my original idea to make a lot of fun envelopes. and the rest is history. so, she wanted a transportation theme for the party. she thought i might design an invitation from scratch, but i suggested the internet and she found a lot of cute invitations as well as this stamp.

i did a second set of envelopes for the thank yous and i made the last letter in the name big and told her to put the stamp in the upper left corner, so that the guests would have a set....coming and going....

the white line on the road is gel pen over the top of zig marker.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

john ericson

a trip down memory lane. this letter came from a kid who had spent a fair amount of time at my house. he was a freshman in college and wrote a letter and sent a decorated envelope. he's bounced around and the last i heard he was in nyc. so, maybe my nyc penpals will run into him one of these days. he mentions skating in the letter. the kids were into roller blading and flying through the air. i always had food in my fridge, so they would stop in when they were hungry. i'd leave paper and pens around and noticed that most of them were very artistic. i've read that sports can be a very right-brained activity, just as art is, so, it was fun to notice that the skaters were also artsy.

the post below popped up earlier today. i forgot that it did not have an envelope, so, here is a good one to add in at this time, as it is from a friend of my son's.

note to stampers

if you like to make cards and you are a rubber stamper, you should click on the [next blog] button at the top of the screen. because i talk about stamps in my blog, i am lumped in with the rubber stampers. they have tons of ideas on their blogs. today, for example, if you were to click, next blog, you might find this blog

and, if you want to explore envelopes, go to this site and type envelopes in the search box.
lots of wonderful examples.
if you like quilts or chocolate or shoes or trees or gift wrap or a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g else in the universe
search that topic and you will find a gazillion pin boards of ideas and images. it is currently the most popular place to surf. it is a  slippery slope. don't go there if you have a problem with surfing.

here is a photo of a slippery slope.
i am still trying to figure out how to post things using the new blogger system. i just figured out how to move the photo or scan, left or right.

i don't have any more envelopes scanned. let's hope my scanner is in the mood to wake up and scan things.

this would make a pretty envelope. imagine a stamp and an address.... for those of you who know my family, that's skip on the trip to south america. i think it is argentina. that is a lake in the background.

Monday, September 26, 2011

margaret lammerts

the envelope has a pretty swoop of watercolor. the front of the card has half the tree cut out and folded back to reveal a pretty pattern underneath. then, on the inside the pattern is actually something she lettered and scanned and photoshopped. very nice card and envelope

Sunday, September 25, 2011

nancy hills

another thank you, but it could say anything. this is in the must-steal file for the stacking of the last name as well as the loop on the K. i think those are gel markers. the kind i can't find any more. it's hard to find a blue that will stay blue when writing on pink paper.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

cheryl jacobsen

cheryl jacobsen of iowa city lettered this thank you to my parents a few years ago. the detail of the card shows that there is a lace pattern on the paper. it looks like she just scanned in some lace. then, she tore off the corner to expose the greeting. this would be a fun way to use up old wrapping paper on holiday cards.

Friday, September 23, 2011

tami rondeau

tami rondeau, my penpal with every vowel in her name a-e-i-o-u sent this card one year as part of our guild's holiday card exchange. she did the lettering and somehow had it reproduced. but all that white, is hand colored with a white pencil. very cool. another idea that is in my *must-steal* pile. i love that the red star is on the envelope and the card is just a simple column of words, with space along the side. it is always risky to stick my neck out and declare some designs as better than others...but this is clearly a superior design.

i can say things like that because in a few weeks i will post the ugliest thing i ever lettered. it was recently discovered in a box of my mother's keepsakes. my eyeballs almost melted when they saw it. after i blinked and resumed breathing, my mom asked.....are you going to keep it? she assumed that since it was so wretched, i would throw it away. oh, no...i said....i have an obligation to share this atrocity with my students. they need to know that we all start out with stuff that is pretty nasty. actually, there were some mid-range things that i did throw away. it's can admit to the really ugly early works, but the midrange stuff is more offensive. i wonder why that is?

by the way, i hope rose ann is reading the blog daily. i just met her at our monthly lettering club. she is deciding which style to work on first. she is drawn to frank lloyd wright's penmanship. this example has some elements of the FLW exemplar that we are using. rose ann was not happy with the precision of her upright strokes. so, notice the way tami tilts the letters back and forth and connects them. this is a way to make letters that do not require precise verticality. however, you still need to make each stroke without wavers or curves.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

peggy larson

this arrived in the mail. it is from our trapezoidal friend, peggy larson. she knew that the p.o. would require extra postage for a non-conforming shape. inside, it appears that this is not a holiday card, but it could easily be an inspiration for any kind of card. when it is folded, the flaps meet perfectly in the center and there was a hand made sticker holding it closed.

i noticed a couple newcomers to the list. yes, this blog usually has examples of my work, but i found a nice stack of old mail and it's been easier to just scan and post them all as a group.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

carol pallesen

this one is from carol pallesen, a scribe from reno nevada. her everyday penmanship is dreamy. the card is embossed and it is hard to appreciate how beautiful it is in just a scan. but, it is an elegant design and illustrates how often times, less is more. if you need to waste time today, check out the origin of that phrase:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

mary lou powers

this has to be in the top ten of all the cards i have received. first, mary lou has spectacular lettering skills. the front of the card is a subtle pencil cobweb with BOO written in. the inside of the card is a very nice piece of cutwork with more of that super tall skinny blackletter. i keep forgetting to ask her if she uses a ruler or if she can pull strokes that straight by just concentrating. then, there is the fun note. she used the cut outs from the card and adhered them to the note. the note is charming as it explains she misplaced her list of birthdays and was supposed to have sent me a birthday card in april. this was back in the day that we had a thriving calligraphy guild and we would make sure that every member received a birthday card. over the years, we had about 30 members who moved away and no longer attended programs or workshops, but they would continue to pay $15 per year to receive three newsletters and a birthday card. members would sign up to participate in the making of cards and each person would do 7-10. it was a great way to practice making cards. i love her spooky writing on the note. thanks again mary lou....

Monday, September 19, 2011

2 posts today

a quick second post, because the first one did not have a stamp. you will find things like this when you goggle vintage decorated envelope in the image section.  i love the arrangement of the city, then street and state.

blogger test

i might have this figured out. first i scan the envelopes, cards, and letters. then i upload them to picasa. then from blogger, when i want to upload an image, it seems to be one easy click. we will have to see if this works on sept 19. this is not an envelope. but, it is a real letter that came in an envelope and it is cut out of tyvek. i'm not sure if i have shown any tyvek cutting, but it is a dreamy medium. tyvek is used to wrap houses before the siding is applied. it is also used for envelopes. the fed ex mailing envelopes are usually tyvek. it is very tough stuff and lots of fun to cut with an xacto knife.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

virginia meltzer

here is the card and  envelope from virginia meltzer that brightened my mailbox several years ago. it is in my stack of *to-steal* ideas. i love white on red. also love trees. and polka dots. and non-traditional holiday colors. it is a spectacular piece of work on many levels. that little card is one of my favorite folds. i use it all the time. and it is so-much-fun to watch people's faces when they see how tricky it is. i always feel like a rocket scientist/brain surgeon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

nancy hills

ok, i know i am supposed to be posting the holiday cards. instead i am in a confrontation with my scanner who has ganged up with blogger. blogger has completely revamped the method for uploading. as if they knew this was the worst possible time to make me relearn everything. not that i had even learned what i needed to know at the beginning. i am just happy to have such nice mail to cheer me up as i battle the techno-creatures who sit on the desk and taunt me, day after would be easier to leave all the envelopes in shoe boxes. but, thankfully, i have loyal readers who enjoy the posts enough that i will continue jousting.

Friday, September 16, 2011

jeri hobart nee wilson

jeri was an original wilson. i'm just a wannabee by marriage. anyhow, she sent this recently. lovely. and i like the little o-matic inside the loop of the j. it is a reference to the jean-o-matic 3000, which is a very low-tech device for writing in straight lines on your envelopes. one of these days i will shoot a video that demonstrates how it works.

the new blogger system has a little button that looks like the chalkboard clapper thingy they use in the making of movies and i even own a flip, i really do intend to make videos. and with my 85 year old mother who has an iMac and knows how to stream netflix, i think she'll be more than adequate as the videographer.

also, note that jeri is able to put the exact amount on the envelopes and keep the color scheme in order. she must have a disturbing number of stamps. maybe i will take the flip cam on a trip and visit my penpals and film their work spaces and stamp stashes. that would be fun.

below is the first post of the day. i thought i could present an idea and just tell you to translate it to an envelope, but, when i opened it this morning, there was no postage stamp, so it looked empty. this is the oct 1st blog entry, that i am bumping forward.

diane jones

this card did not come in a decorated envelope, but it is a reminder to use every style you have been working on. this could be a birthday greeting or any kind of card. the idea would also work on an envelope.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

collene kalb

this is an envelope from collene in oz. she is currently in the us on a trip. i found this in my stack from old exchanges and while it is a valentine, it has enough red to inspire xmas or any holiday for that matter. the card is not with the envelope, but you can imagine a matching card with the greeting in place of my name. and the current holiday stamps would inspire the rest of the design.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

holiday ideas

the local group of penmanship aficionados met on saturday and there was a request for holiday cards. so, i dug into my stacks and found some old ones. this one was a valentine, but the idea would suit any holiday. trapezoids are a good way to use up left over paper that is not large enough to make a card that fits the envelope exactly.

also, note on the inside, the torn paper with the greeting. if you are a beginner and you are practicing, but then freeze up when you are working on your good paper, this is a way to salvage some good phrases off your practice pages and layer them onto the good paper.

this is from master card-maker peggy larson of fort dodge iowa. i really appreciate that rose ann requested cards. it was fun to flip through my box of keepsakes. there will be 20-30 over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

scribble book

a few days ago, i posted a photo of a scribble book and nan searched it and found out what it is. fascinating...

the internet is an amazing place
nan also suggested searching [scribble book]  and seeing what else is there. good stuff...

nan's postcard

this just in. nan sent a fun post card done in gel pen on purple. fur shur, this purple is the best color with that stamp. i have struggled with good designs to go with the celebrate stamp. thank you nan. and i saw the comment on the scribble book. i need to go back and copy and paste it into a new post so everyone sees it. i don't think the readers take time to go back and check the comments section. one of the new features on blogspot is that the comments all pop up at once for me, so i can see if i get new ones.

thanks, nan, for the fun mail...


this envelope is out-of-the-box compared to all the other envelopes on the blog in that it is metered and it has a mailing label. i think there has only been one other envelope with a metered mark instead of a stamp. and i can't think of any with a printed mailing label...but carolina deserves to be on the blog because she is an amazing designer. the white card is a holiday card and when you open it, a larger photo is revealed showing carolina and her husband on either side of baby evia.

her letterpress company is modern letterpress and you may see some wonderful examples of nan's calligraphy on her website listed below. there are a couple samples of my work. once in a while, carolina has a client who wants tiny little printing, so, i get those jobs because nan *won't* print. :-)

and here is nan's website. i am going to try to insert an actual link because i am trying to learn all the different buttons on blogger.

Monday, September 12, 2011


this is an envelope from aidan meehan. it is from one of the very first envelope exchanges i joined. it was thrilling to receive this envelope in the mail. there is nothing in the envelope. he just mailed it... it is comforting to know that there were others who boldly went with the *just-an-envelope* concept long before i adopted that plan. i have not heard anything about aidan for a long time. i found his blog by googling. i have not had time to read through any of the posts.
from there you may go to his website and see more celtic art. i love the dots. be sure to click on the image so you can see it enlarged.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


ok. this is a mess. and not a good mess. but, those of you who frown on criticism will just have to accept that overlapping red and blue is tricky. and if your writing is going to be sloppy, it either has to be so sloppy, it becomes artful scribbling. or, it needs to be sloppy within something not-sloppy. which is hard to explain in words. can you hear the panic in my words? i have only one post left in the line-up. i have not resolved my storage issue with blogger. i do not know if the scanner is still being temperamental. i feel like i am tied to the railroad tracks in a silent movie....stay tooned (yes, it is an intentional spelling, notice i say intentional spelling and not mis-spelling, because there is no such thing as mis-spelling, it is all a matter of how creative are you and i really need to find the clip of the lady in congress who launched into an impassioned plea for the government to try to inspire people to write more letters because that would save the post office but i digress even though i do like the idea of writing this sentence all day instead of doing the things that must be done many of which are to help my mom and while i am trying to help her, she spends a fair amount of time worrying about the post office going broke and then i will be out of a job and then we will not be able to afford our elegant ladies-who-lunch outings at taco john's and now i regret typing that because i have been vigilant about this blog being about envelopes only and i try to refrain from all that personal babble that people put on their blogs which is why i'm actually stopping now....actually, i am stopping because my purpose in life is to post to this blog, faithfully, every day and i received two pieces of mail this week !!!! thank, back to my purpose and new be lined up....thank you for listening. must have needed to off load some babble.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


love this stamp :-)

i re-gifted an artist trading card. but, i think that's ok. they are meant to be traded.

Friday, September 9, 2011


i enjoy puzzles and filling up a page with letters, without thinking too hard is like a puzzle. i recently watched the video: Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight. He is the designer who created I(heart)NY. and he talked about how viewers are drawn to puzzles.

there is a bit of a puzzle to making names fit from border to border on an envelope.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


this one is up-side-down although it hardly matters. it also shows the card which was a letter-sized sheet of paper with an image of a mondrian painting. i folded it in quarters and it inspired the envelope.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


this is one of my favorite stamps and i have at least one previous post that looks just like this... only better because it is on a white envelope. as i have mentioned, i schedule about 2 weeks of envelopes at a time, so i am actually writing this on aug 30. hopefully, when i wake up on sept 7 and see this, i'll think *ugh* and post something new and fun. or maybe someone will have sent me an envelope that i can post. (hint hint)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


i like the way everything fits together into a grid. the card was quickly lettered on a scrap of watercolor paper. markers look really good on nice paper. the white NAN on the envelope is a paint pen. the envelope looks like it came over on the mayflower. it is so faded around the edge.

Monday, September 5, 2011


the scanner cooperated long enough for me to scan a stack of envelopes i made for nan when she was turning 60. i was going to do 60 and then she made a comment about not wanting to observe her birthday, so i set them aside. some of the cards were made from a hallmark cd. i printed them in black and white and then added color. other cards were fashioned out of random stuff found in the piles of stuff in the studio. i was working really fast, so these will be more like studies and not *fine art* by any means. you have already seen three from the series. while i got the scanner to work, it is a real challenge to then post things to blogger and have any idea what order they are in.

the inside of the card says: ...sadly, congress has not allocated any funds for your maintenance.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

video on creativity

this was buried in the comments section.
you'all might enjoy it
thanks to jackie for posting it

scroll down to see the envelope of the day


a very quick marker envelope from a series. it will be explained tomorrow. thought i needed to add an envelope, since the main post scheduled for today was the video right below. or maybe above. i can't tell which on e will appear first.

i'll have half the envelopes to nan posted before the explanation appears.

a video

文字書く人たち from Japan Letter Arts Forum on Vimeo.

while i am waiting to figure out the problem with my scanner. here is a beautiful video. it is 8 minutes long. or it might be 32 minutes. i have not watched the whole thing yet. i just saw it on the cyberscribes list and saw the button that said .. embed .. and thought i would try to put a video into my blog. i think it worked. at least with my scanner not working, i am learning new things about blogging.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


a quick marker idea. when you are in a hurry, flush left works. and just draw the easy stuff. leaves are easy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

from jackie

jackie found some scans on her computer and sent them. the first one was a couple days ago. this is what she had to say about this one.
about the bamboo style - very much inspired by your wonderful neuland lettering. made with a folded ruling pen on strathmore 300 which causes the gouache to separate/granulate in an aesthetically pleasing way. obviously, i am hoping you'll get out that blur tool for his address, but if you can't, a slip of paper will be just fine.

i can only blur on one computer and i don't know how to upload scans to that computer. i can only put in a piece of paper if i am the one originating the scan. so, i put in an orange bar. i can do that on picasa

now...the biggest issue of all. i am on the verge of using up my free space on picasa which is where i store all my scans. so, i have to figure out how to continue my blog. i guess i could pay google for more space. but that goes against my grain.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

nan - sneak peak

this is a sneak peak at one of a series that will be appearing. it is my least favorite from the bunch. it's old. i was using up old envelopes. i've learned that the only thing to even try on the pastel envelope is a flowery design. twigs are not a close enough relative to flowers to be fool proof. flowers are so pretty, you can just scribble them, and they are pretty. twigs need to be drawn, not scribbled. although, people who have spent enough hours drawing twigs, would be able to scribble them. it's all about the hours you put in before you scribble.

scribble book