Saturday, November 18, 2017

Orange Spheres from KathyS - White Ink on Kraft to Kathy

I love the spheres - but I'm not sure what they are. I want to say persimmon, but I have no idea how persimmons grow and I suppose they should be pointed on the bottom...maybe they are symbolic of all things spherical and edible.

Love the branch - love the J

Kathy treats herself to very nice envelopes. It's a smart thing to do. If I ever use up all my cheap envelopes I plan to treat myself and my fellow exchangers to only nice envelopes.

Kathy's orbs will pop up again in December - so below is one that will not be repeated - ever. It was so blah. I thought parting with favorite stamps would give it adequate ooomph. Sadly it is still boring and I wish I would have used one or more hefty black stamps.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Akim-esque from Rachael - Blue+Lace to Rachael

Rachel sent this in July. She mentioned that she was inspired by the Akim sample that she had seen on the blog and said that this was a pretty loose interpretation.

The whole point of Akim is to be very loose - and actually, Rachael's version is more traditional in the width and spacing of each stroke - which is fine. It is a really cool variation and it is always very exciting for me when someone spins an idea off something they saw on the blog. I'm not sure I have ever seen Akim done with a pointed nib - so right there - I'm seeing something that I am just itching to try.

Very cool. Thanks. This will pop up again in December.
Here is one that Rachael received from me. I had been playing around with my new bottle of McCaffrey's ink and did the lettering. Then the envelope sat in a stack of *how-to-finish?* I resorted to parting with some stamps that are hard to part with.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Smash's Eclipse Envelope

In the middle of September, I am sitting here creating the posts that will pop up in the middle of November. And I have already pre-posted almost all of the eclipse mail. However, I do not know when those envelopes are scheduled so I can't tell you if this is the last one or one in the middle.

All of this information is entirely useless - just illustrating for the umpteenth time that I do not have a workable system for organizing the mail. I am forever toying with the idea of having some organization to the blog and actually knowing what's what and what's where. Seems like a dangerous thing to do. Going against my entropy loving nature.

Smash is one of the professionals who shares her talents with the beginners and intermediates. It's that thankful time of shout out to the Smash-girl....and all my other pen pals. In case I do not say it often enough - this exchange is not a skill-based exchange. It is a process-based exchange.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

From Maggie - To Maggie (Volleyball)

Another envelope that will show up again in December due to technical difficulties in my head and on my desk.

I'm crazy about this lettering and need to copy it - so- I will add the stealworthy label.

The flower arrangement is also very nice. I can't tell if they are watercolor or very tiny markers. I need to collect all the envelopes I have questions about and go on a road trip where I knock on the door and say, "How did you do this?"

Not my favorite lettering - but the texture from the volleyball added to the name was so much fun to do. I would have redone this envelope and used a much chunkier style of writing - but when I can't buy a full sheet of a specific stamp, there is no point in spending a lot of time with ideas that go with the stamp.

Note added on Tuesday. My husband could use some “Hang in there” envelopes. He is always impressed with the way my readers respond to requests for Alex. So it will cheer him up to get some mail this week. Put your return address on the back and I’ll send a super fun thank you envelope to you when I get home after Thanksgiving. And don’t feel obligated if you are heading into a busy time of year. This is just for those of you with time on your hands. Or those of us who embrace any opportunity to do envelopes instead of chores.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cactus from Grace - Birthday to Grace

This one from Grace will be run again in December.

For those of you who do not exchange, -empty- written on the back means that the envelope is empty. My exchanges are *envelope* exchanges. A lot of us are not chatty and do not want the pressure of having to write a note inside. I do write a few - but when I am running out of time, it is nice to know that people are just as happy getting the envelope. Obviously, if you need to hear from can just read the blog every. dang. day.

and the front looked like this:

I like that border around the stamp. The lavender rectangle and triangle is actually paper, collaged onto the gray envelope. The cactus and my name are also collaged on top. It looks like she cut out the wagon wheel by hand. That is above and beyond.

Sometimes I feel guilty that people spend more time on the mail that comes to me than what I spend on the mail I send to them. But, If you factor in the amount of time I spend blogging, it's probably a fair trade.

Below are two envelopes that did not take that much time and I really struggled with sending them because I thought they needed something else. In the end, I added some pink colored pencil, but did not have time to re--scan them. I do like the idea of putting a message along one side of the envelope. The addresses went below the names in black or gray ink.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mixed Up + From and To KateR

I discovered that I had posted a few envelopes twice and it's easier to just add something new to the double posts rather than delete because when I don't actually know how many duplicates there will be.
Above is from Kate and below is to Kate. I started teaching again and this style is one that I like to use with beginners. Ooops. I had to delete the photo. I forgot to blur her address. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jeri and Tome

Jeri (above) and Tome (below)
Holiday mail.

I always think about doing a thanksgiving mailing.

The day that I am writing this is in the middle of September. It is always fun for me to read my posts on the day they pop up and see where I am 2 months later.

Both Jeri and Tome have a lot of training in traditional calligraphy. I think it shows - even in the very loose, casual styles

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Maggie and Anne - Dec 2016 Exch

Maggie and Anne.

Two fun ideas for scrolly gold lines.
One made into Xmas lights and the other made into holly.

Stealworthy ideas.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Stephanie and Tom - Dec Exch & Mail 2016

Stephanie and Tom.

Stephanie is an exchanger, Tom is a calligrapher friend.
His envelope came enclosed in a package with a photo he took a few years ago.

At a calligraphy workshop, all the participants were handed a skinny strip of paper - about 1/4th inch by 5 inches...and they were instructed to write a birthday greeting to me. Then Tom put them on bamboo skewers and inserted them into the top of a delicious chocolate cake. It was like a forest of tiny little greetings on top of the cake.
So pretty.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shana and AmyIA - Dec 2016 Exchange

Shana and Amy.

These two were fun to receive in the same month. They remind me of that kind of snow that comes down in clumps.

Bonus post below.

Bonus Post - 4th Birthday

I just ran across this link to a set of letters, pre-written from Santa, his head elf and each of the reindeer. I will be making fun envelopes for my granddaughter who turns 4 today. At some point, I will post a photo of the envelopes - or I might save them and space them out. But, if any of you have kids or grandkids who are in the *believer* years - you might enjoy these letters.

12 Letters of Christmas

A really devoted grandma would rewrite all the letters and change the wording to be more personalized. But this grannie is lazy and all I care about is my own blog and my own readers. I hope y'all appreciate the love and attention that I shower on you. And I expect nothing in return - except I am going to add a feature where you can donate to my stamp fund. The price of postage is cutting into my meager art supply budget.

This envelope is unrelated. It came in an exchange and got lost below the edge of the computer screen. I did not know that photos could slide down there - but they can. And I had not renamed it - so I can't tell you who did it. Maybe Carol C? The postmark says Sept of 2017 - You'd think I could keep track of things for at least a couple months, but apparently not.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lisa and Eric - Dec 2016 Exch

Lisa and Eric.

I am writing this in October. I am drinking coffee. I sure do enjoy the exchanges. I have made negative progress in my methods for posting and writing blog posts. My chaotic life should make all y'all feel better that you are higher functioning than I am.

Unless you are not.

In which case, you have my deepest sympathies.

That top one looks like coffee beans.

I like coffee.

The bottom one looks like geometry.

I like geometry.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

CathyO and KathleenRH - Dec 2016 Exch

CathyO and KathleenRH.

More ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Nice alternative colors.

Bear with me...I'll be back to *normal* commentary pretty soon.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Bonus Post Mary Engelbreit

Mary Englebreit has been mentioned previously. She's been a favorite of mine since she launched her business in the mid 80's. We are the same age - and it has been fun watching her evolve. I always said that her balance between sweet and mushy -and- snarky was parallel to my outlook on life.

Thanks to Pinterest - you can see all of her work - just plug her name into the search. I also discovered her IG - and was just a little bit surprised at how pointed she has become about certain topics. But she is still very balanced - and includes plenty of her original sweetness.

Another good find --- her snarky side has blossomed into Engeldark.
...get it?

I can't wait to see what she's up to in another 20 years.

If you like snarky - head on over to her website. And maybe snarky isn't the right word. If anyone wants to suggest an alternative, please do. It's the opposite of Pollyanna....I want to say Maxine. I'm sure plenty of you remember Maxine from the Hallmark greeting card series. Edit: Edgy is a better word for Mary's darker choices. For Maxine, I think I'd go with sarcastic.


Today's regular post is right below.
I'm adding some bonus posts on the days when I was struggling to write educational comments.

Two from Lynne - Dec 2016 Exch

Two from Lynne.

Two good ideas.

The point of running these in November was to give all y'all a chance to ponder your holiday mail.

Is it working?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

JeanR and CarolC (UT) - Dec 2016 Exch

Jean and Carol..

Do I get a by or a bye - two days in a row?

These are green
and pretty.


It is hard to get into the holiday mode when it is actually the middle of October.
I think when the 2017 holiday mail shows up, I need to schedule all of it and post it promptly.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Bonus Post - Film: The Master Calligrapher

Below is today's regular post. It's an odd one. It seems like a good day to toss in a bonus post which is a film that you might enjoy.

It's a true story (1 hour and 37 minutes) about a calligrapher. Not a lot of action, but an interesting guy. He loved teaching which is probably why the film appealed to me so much. The *action* sequences are when he gets frustrated and crumples up his paper. I guess when the Japanese invade - there is some drama. And I love the part where the authorities (Communists) put paper barricades across his books because they are no longer acceptable. It would be interesting to know if he truly left them that way until 1976 - living in one room with all his books behind flimsy paper strips. I don't want to spoil the film for anyone. I'll be curious to know if anyone watches it and enjoys it as much as I did. Or after 5 minutes - if you think it is way too boring - that's fine. I'd be a little concerned about anyone who had my quirky taste in films - except for you-know-who.

If you are just curious about his life - here is the Wiki article.

Tom and Geri - Dec 2016

Two red envelopes from calligraphy buddies.

Staring at the keyboard.



Moving on.

Never missed a day since Feb 17, 2010.

Do I get by?

Or is it bye?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Smash and CathyO - Dec 2015 Exchange

Two black envelopes.

Yesterday, I discovered about 10 posts with no commentary.

I also waited more than a week to turn the page on my calendar (from Sept to Oct) and that has caused some serious scrambling.

The next 10 posts will all be coffee-induced babbling.

These are pretty.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Grace and Phillip Dec 2016 Exch

Top one from Grace, Bottom one from Phillip.

I think I saved all the 2016 December exchange envelopes to run in 2017. I put the images up - and left the commentary for later.

It is now *later* and I am scrambling to get my exchange envelopes done - so - commentary will have to wait....

There is a bonus post below for the people who wanted to see me as Princess Leia.

Bonus Post - Princess Leia

OK, the photo of me in my Princess Leia costume was right there in the box marked Holidays. It is a terrible photo and now I wish I had  a better picture. I did win first prize at the party. Or co-first prize. Olive Oyl and I were the two lady winners. The two men who won were outstanding. One was Leatherface who showed up with a chainsaw and was not afraid to turn it on. The other man winner was a guy who always had a beard, but shaved just for the party and hired professionals to make him look like Tootsie, the Dustin Hoffman character. It was fabulous. The party was a theme party - come dressed as your favorite actor in a favorite role. Currently, I have enough hair to recreate the hairdo, but it is more than half gray so I'm not going to go there.
I cut my hair off into a short bob two days ago. This post refers to an earlier post with a WonderWoman envelope. Yesterday I gave the address of the blog to 6 new people in my current class. Blog posts are scheduled weeks (or months) in advance. A few comments show up in real time.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Exchange Sign Up - Rachael's Dec 2016 Env

Rachael had some fun with black envelopes and a white gel pen. Then she made some cute cards. It's taking a lot of will power to not steal this idea and do all of my November Exchange envelopes in this style. Or maybe I'll wait and use (steal) the idea for December.

It's time to sign up for the November Exchange.

PLEASE remember to type out your name, address, and email.
PLEASE follow the format below
and send it to
jmwilson411 -at- yahoo -dot- com

Jane Doe
123 Oak Street
Ames, Iowa 50312 USA

I will send lists on Nov 5th or 6th.
You will get 4, 5, or 6 names on your list.
You may get one international address which will cost $1.15 in postage.
Let me know if you have a November birthday - and exchangers may do a birthday themed envelope if desired.
Enclosures are optional.

Please put your return address on the back and it is nice to add:
PTEX-Nov  & Empty -or- Open (if it is an empty envelope -or- if it has an enclosure)

Any theme, any medium, beginners are welcome.
If you are OK with sending 10 envelopes, let me know and I might put you on two lists. It is nice to make all the lists come out even.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Off topic - Scary photos - Bonus post

Just for fun, I am posting scary photos today.


My mom is the girl in the middle. It's a 4th of July photo taken in Moulton Montana in 1933.

I do not recall any story about why the kids look so scared.

I was thinking this was the weirdest photo of kids in my house, until I discovered this photo of my brother and me. It's my 4th birthday.

Seriously, if I had time, I would make some actual birthday cards out of this one. Hallmark uses vintage photos on some of their cards. Maybe I should submit it. Although I don't know if they are still doing that.

And note to the BigHelpfulBrother -- you got a lot of milage out of that shirt. Below is a picture taken two years before my 4th birthday and you are wearing the same shirt. I look adorable - not scary at all. Everyone is adorable at 2.

Scary haircuts.

Regular post below - with envelopes.

August Exchange from KateR and Shandra

Another fun bit of participation by the USPS on this one from Kate. Darling little bee waiting in line behind the bee on the stamp. The USPS was kind enough to run it through the cancelling machine up-side-down.

Below is the August exchange envelope from Shandra who has some nice vintage stamps. They look nice on the kraft paper envelopes. There is a double cancel, but the one on the bottom does not have the wavy lines. And there is no bar code. Very interesting how many different ways the mail gets cancelled. Interesting to people like me.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Exchangers Debbie, Lynne, and Bug

Debbie has signed up for a couple exchanges. I noted on the previous envelope from Debbie, that she signs and dates them. Part of me wishes I would have done that with mine. And I really wish I would have numbered the envelopes so I had an idea of how many I've done. But, I remind myself that it is better to just be me - and *me* is not gifted in tabulating over periods of time.

Note to self: Did you ever go back to that fascinating article on the procrastination conference?

Next is a tennis racquet from Lynne. I keep looking at the strings on the tennis racquet and can't figure out how they were drawn. I know it has been a while Lynne, but do you recall how you did them? The way the cancel works with the stamp and the racquet is nice. You must have taken them to the PO and had the postal worker put it where you wanted it.

And finally, we have another round sporty stamp -from new exchanger Bug- with a fun mandala inspired design. It's a nice touch to stack the mandalas. It is a good idea for someone who is intrigued with mandalas, but not overly disciplined - and more experimental.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

August Exchangers Tina and Nanski

Tina needs to tell us how she did her envelope. It looks like she covered the surface with an array of colors that are shiny. And then covered those colors with some matte black. Then used something to remove the black.

As kids, most of us created something similar with colored crayons - both layers. The scratching off made a huge mess. This does not look like crayon on either layer.

I was so happy to see Nanski's WonderWoman envelope. Little did she know that back in the day when I had long brown hair and wore shorts and tanned (in my mid-20s) - there were some guy-friends who wanted me to dress up as WonderWoman for Halloween. I was so tempted because I really thought I could pull it off. The only thing that deterred me was the outfit. I could not handle the *shorts* which look like underpants to me. Now - 40 years later - I sorta wish I had a picture of me as WonderWoman. Instead - I have a picture of me as Princess Leia. My hair made perfect ear-muff-buns and the full length bathrobe dress was something I could handle.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rajiv Surendra - Off topic (somewhat) + note to Alyce

It is always fun to run across someone new (new to me - he might have been around for a while) in the world of lettering. There is a tie in with mail in his bio. Here is the beginning of the bio:

ABOUT  12 years ago I came across a pile of old letters, written in the mid 1800’s.  I was fascinated with the beauty of the penmanship and began to copy the style of writing using my pencil, at school.  I switched to ballpoint pen a few years later, but it was only when I discovered the original pens used for this form of writing, wooden pen-holders with tiny metal nibs, that my writing began to flourish.
I’ve developed my own, unique style of calligraphy based on penmanship styles from the past few centuries.

There are tons of cool examples on his site.
So far, I have not found an address for him. It might be fun to drop a note in the mail. He has not posted on his blog in a year. I hope that means he is too busy with high paying jobs - and not that he has no work. That would be sad. Or maybe he was just going through a phase.

SHOUT OUT to Alyce:
I was just scheduling my annual Xmas story to appear on Xmas eve. Because I have some new readers, I thought I would add a link to the story I ran last year. While I was retrieving the address to make the link, I happened to see your comment:

Time to address the last dozen Christmas cards. I'm publicly stating that I am going to start making my cards for next Christmas in January. It hasn't worked just telling myself.

So - how's it going, Alyce? Will this be the year that you stay on top of the holiday mailings?
I know my plan is to do my December exchange envelopes in November. Let me know if you need some additional nudging as we barrel towards the holidays. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Eclipse Envelopes from SusanWestCoast and Troy

The top envelope is from another Susan - not the Smash-girl on the east coast - it's a Susan from the west coast. In August and September, I started getting quite a few new exchangers, It made me wonder if I will ever get to the point where there are too many for me to include myself on all the exchange lists.

And below is Troy's eclipse envelope. I have no idea what the layer of green is on the name. It might have been something dropped into the black ink when it was wet.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Miss Cathy's Eclipse

Miss Cathy did this really nice copperplate with a Pilot Fude Makasa.

It is a marker with a brush tip so you get thicks and thins like a pointed nib. She went over the top with some sparkle that might be Wink of Stella.

Pens and markers have such unusual names...

And that is washi tape across the bottom.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Washed Away Address to Limner (Bonus Post)

Yesterday, Limner posted this image of an envelope that I sent -recently. I did about 30 envelopes using McCaffrey's indigo ink.  Most of them were to exchangers - but a few were not. I had no idea that McCaffrey's washed off that easily.

You can see the full blog post here:
Limner's Blog Post
She has a black and white image of the envelope before it went through the car wash.

Where did that image come from?
Is the PO now recording an image of each piece of mail we drop in the mail box?

I had some kind of weird premonition when I made the envelope and put The Limner's address as the *return* address instead of my own return address. I don't know what prompted me to do that. Sometimes I do it if I think the actual address is just too hard to read. To be honest, I'm a little weirded out. Did someone see what I had done and think that it was fishy - so they deleted one of the addresses?

And there is the matter of the other 30 envelopes that went out with *wash-off* ink. Five went out of the country. 1 exchanger did not get a *wash-off* ink envelope because I had a spare with her name on it. But the rest of the exchangers - I have my own address as the return, so I assume if any of them went through the car wash - they will come back to me. Except for the ones that I used the *wash-off* ink on. Bottom line - if you did not get your exchange envelope from me - let me know and I can send a replacement.

On a happier note ... if you read the blog on a web version -not a phone version- you can see some images of other blogs that I follow. Yesterday - it was really fun to see that both Eric and The Limner had posted mail from me at the same time. It would have been cool if FinnBadger had also posted mail from me. But, 2 out of 3 is pretty good. Sadly, Eric's post shows more dreadful cruelty-to-stamps. So sad. In the future, I will protect the pretty stamps by putting them inside another envelope.

Today's regular post is right below.

Eclipse from Finnbadger

This was fun to receive. It came in an outer envelope. Phillip took it to Spring City to have the special postmark. I think he might have written about it on his blog.

I love how the address reverses out. I wonder if I could figure out a way to do that by hand. I'll label this FOLLOW-UP - and hope that I come back and give it a try. Inside was a really pretty card that did not photograph very well.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Eclipse Week - Rachael and Carol

The first two August exchange envelopes that used the eclipse stamps are from Rachael and Carol. Ooops - I see that Rachael did not use an eclipse stamp....but, the Building a Nation stamp is perfect.

I am writing this in September on the day that I finished 30 envelopes - all done in a style very similar to the style Rachael used. I might have to contact her and ask about that style. I've used it a lot over the years. This year, I started teaching again after a 3 1/2 year sabbatical. I can tell that I am rusty - but I have an official replacement teacher who is going to take over ASAP. I have a few styles that she has not learned - and as soon as she learns them, I will be the substitute teacher - if she ever needs one.

Carol's moon is really nice in person. The paper shimmers and some of the fluids she layered seem to have some shimmer as well.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Redundancy to Eric

On the day before I was to do this envelope there was a post from Eric -on his blog- mentioning the wonderful bright colors on an envelope from one of our fellow exchangers, Dianne. So I figured I'd do something colorful with the FC Pitt markers. I had just done one for Finn that used all the colors - in block printing. (The Aug 15 , 2017 post)

I switched to script and it lost all the impact plus, I do too many envelopes to Eric that look just like this. I really need to go to the PO and get some of the international stamps. I get so stumped with international mail and for no good reason. Originally, this had only 4 stamps....and then I added the lady reading and wrapped her around the edge and then I decided it needed more edge wrapping and I was on a roll. Once again, I think this envelope needs more...but should just let it go....rather than risk ruining it after the stamps are on.

I have a huge stash of telephone wire. I have found some local places to donate it - but I thought that if any of my readers want some, they could pay the postage and I would be happy to send it to them. If you do not know what phone wire is - look on Etsy. There are a lot of fun projects from jewelry to baskets. If you want some, I can see how much fits in a flat rate USPS box. Email me if you want some. jmwilson411 -at- gmail -dot- com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Outer Space from Kathy

You really need to see this one in person to appreciate the effect of all the splatters and added details. At first, this was in the stack with the eclipse stamped mail - and then i realized it was the jupiter stamp....
....eclipse week is coming up.

Or is that pluto?
Did all the planets come on one sheet - that I missed?

It's pluto.

Are planets supposed to be capitalized?
Does my lack of spelling and grammar knowledge drive any of you crazy?
But not very.
All my brain cells are being used to try to remember to look at where the text message is going before I click send. I have sent some pretty wacky messages to people who were very confused. Earlier today I sent one to a person who just one hour earlier had made a pocket FaceTime call to me. She was out shopping and she thought there was someone in the vicinity who sounded a lot like Jean Wilson. Eventually, she realized that it was actually Jean Wilson, yelling *yoo-hoo* in her pocket.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aug Exch - Food for Kathy

This one needs to have the food colored in. One of the Mexican, Central American, South American, and Caribbean food stamps would look nice. It will be interesting to find out if I actually managed to buy them before they sell out.

Under the pen is a street address with another spelling error.
This one might have to go inside another envelope with fewer errors....

Friday, October 20, 2017

Aug Exchange - Jannie's Square Black Sparkle with Sprigs

This orphan envelope, square, black and sparkle needed extra postage. I saw a very time consuming idea on The Postman's Knock and knew it would be fun to do a very quick and easy variation. Lindsey's circle border had only two rows, I added a third. Her sprigs were outlined and filled in, I just left mine outlined. I added dots. I used a soapstone pencil to rough in the name. Then, when I decided to use a big fat white PITT marker, I went rogue on myself and printed the name - and it was pretty wonky. Outlining fixed it.

I ended up liking this a lot and wishing I had more of the envelopes....