Sunday, May 20, 2018

AprPTEX - Fruit for Betty

The outlines of the fruit were done in Chicago. When I got home and tried to find good stamps - this one was really hard. I finally chose the Folk art and decided to use those colors on the fruit. I'm not crazy about the placement of the fruit. But, it serves the purpose of clearing out the hoard and that's becoming a top tier goal here at the 420.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Feb Exchangers Carroll, Lynne, and Smash

I have a feeling that the one from Smash (on the bottom) came in January - and might have been on the blog already. My stack of Jan-Feb-Mar mail all ran together. But, it is fun to see these groupings.

Lynne's, in the middle, got away with one Forever stamps. It could have been accessed a surcharge for being non-landscape.

Carroll's on top looks like white gel pen - and black ink. Red is such a nice color for envelopes because both black as well as white looks equally good on red. Colored envelopes that look good with both black and white are...what? What's the term for the mid-point between too light and too dark? Is it a measurable tone? This is way too technical. Although some of the readers are very smart and have all kinds of good answers to some of the random questions posted on the blog.

Friday, May 18, 2018

AprPTEX - Oddities to Nanski

Two days ago I warned you that there would be some oddities showing up. It doesn't get odder than this. Well - yes it does. But for me, this is about the weirdest one. I only did the black Sharpie outlines in Chicago. I brought it home, scrounged through the hoard of vintage stamps - and colored in the doodles.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Feb Exchangers CathyO and KateR

It is always fun to see how people use the stamp as inspiration. Top one from CathyO, bottom one from Kate R.

I was not a big fan of the L on the stamp - and stated in February that I would not be buying any of these stamps. Of course, now that I see how pretty these two envelopes are, I imagine I would have lots of fun imitating both of these ideas.

Hopefully, these stamps will still be available once I have used up my stash and start buying new stamps.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

AprPTEX - Bugs to Javier

In mid-April I posted a detail of this one showing how I had added some fuzzies to the lettering - inspired by the stamp on the left.

For the April exchange, I had come beautiful Strathmore envelopes - but I was stuck in Chicago with only borrowed Sharpies and cheap gel pens. I was thinking that the severe limitations would really stimulate my creativity. Sadly - they were just weird. But, I have a fondness for weird.

If nothing else, you will feel better about your own work when comparing it to some of the oddities that will be showing up over the next couple of weeks.

Here's the detail that ran earlier:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Exchanger Susan Fitch - Snicker Bar Envelope

Susan only exchanged once and I have wondered why people only exchange once. I Googled her name and it led to an Etsy shop -where she has had 6,745 sales since 2014. So, that looks to me like someone who is illustrating for a living and probably too busy to participate in exchanges.

I loved her tiny printing and am showing a close up. I also love her little paper houses. I don't need to print off a design to make little houses - but I am adding the link because they are so cute - and maybe you need some little houses.

Little paper houses

Monday, May 14, 2018

Cleaning House

 I found these three in a folder that was labeled Not on Blog Yet. If they have not been on the blog I want to make sure they don't get left out. I know the top one is from Kate because I can read the cancellation. But, I do not remember who sent the other two. All three are very pretty.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Obama 2012 Holiday Card - by Larissa Kabel

I needed a random image to go with my thoughts on the ZIP code. No relation - just didn't feel like digging up a random envelope.

I couldn't remember what ZIP stood for, so I looked it up and discovered this:
ZIP Codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service since 1963. The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan;[1] it was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently and quickly (zipping along) when senders use the code in the postal address. The basic format consists of five digits. An extended 'ZIP+4' code was introduced in 1983 which includes the five digits of the ZIP Code, followed by a hyphen and four additional digits that determine a more specific location.
The term ZIP Code was originally registered as a servicemark by the U.S. Postal Service, but its registration has since expired.[2]

Doesn't it seem odd that the USPS let the registration expire. Does that mean I can register it?
I don't know what I would do with it - but it just seems like a fun thing to *own.*

The image of the Obama's holiday card was drawn by someone that I actually know. It looks like a photo - but is really a painting. I have seen some of her other drawings and paintings up close, in person and the word amazing is so over used - I'm trying to think of what would be more amazing than amazing.

Someone told her about the call for entries - and she submitted a drawing - and was chosen.

Here is an article about being chosen - and then if I can find it I will add the article about her trip to the White House. Sadly, she came down with a stomach bug and barely made it to the White House and back to her hotel room. There are more details in her story - but not really necessary...we all know the frustration of trying to make it through an event when you'd rather be home in bed.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ice Cream to Phillip

This was the other orphan ice cream stamp. I did slightly better with coming up with an idea, knowing that I only had one chance. I like to keep the bottom half-inch of the envelope clear for the bar code - so I needed something going across the bottom that was white on white. Obviously - it would have been much cuter to do the zip code as the cherries - but, it was done and the stamp was on.

The tipped angle on this really bothers me.

Note added in real time:
I finally figured out how to airdrop photos from my phone to my computer  -- a feature that is right up there with sliced bread. I've mentioned this before - but for those who missed it - the bread slicing machine was invented right here in innovative Iowa. From sliced bread to the computer.

For the Iowa readers - if you scroll down through the comments on this site - there are some interesting additions to the list, -- also a few debates and the usually foolishness.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Eclipse from Miss Cathy

Another blizzard day discovery.
Really nice to think about the eclipse on a chilly day like this. And then when I read this it will be spring.

I really like this idea - plus - I'd like to know how Miss Cathy got the smooth surface of the USA. It almost looks like a block print - not wood block - but one of those block/pads that feels like rubber. I am refraining from doing a search because we all know what a slippery slope it is to go off researching something.

I like how the ZIP code didn't fit in the black strip and got to be on it's own.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Birthday Ice Cream to Jane

I had two orphan ice cream stamps. While I liked the subject matter, the way the subject matter was tilted gave me a funny feeling. I can't explain it - they just seemed to be falling or floating. Maybe someone else can explain what's going on.

The envelope was nice paper - I chose markers....not sure the details are the most inspired - as I have mentioned - when I don't have more than one stamp - I have a harder time evolving into an idea that I love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

2000 card and envelope from Sherri

My first experience with exchanges was through CyberScribes. It was a list-serve and I met so many nice people. I remember this one arriving and I immediately emailed Sherri and asked her who she had studied with. She said she was self-taught. I was A.M.A.Z.E.D.

I need to ask her if she at least saw the work of others--- because this is not the kind of lettering that you see in the how-to-write-italics books.

Sherri has a website with tons of beautiful examples.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Hoarding and Food Sculpture - Off Topic

I do not recall what year this was. Maybe 2008 or 2009. Doesn't look like me.
Except those jowls. :-(
I started talking about hoarding a couple days ago and I had something else to say - but I had run out of images to post. So, I looked in the stash of photos and chose this one because it might be fun to show you one of the other things I have enjoy doing.

Food sculpture. Someday I will find the pictures of a city I built for a birthday party. This photo is from the event at our local art museum where I worked with a professional cake designer and we built a replica of the art center out of food and then invited people to eat it.

The original stone building, designed by Eliel Saarinen was recreated out of Rice Krispie treats. To the right, the I.M.Pei addition was a stack of brownies covered with matzoa. It is a poured concrete building with a corrugated surface that resembles matzoa. To the left is the Richard Meier wing which is covered with big panels that look like enameled metal. My replica was a box covered with Chicklets. I think the roof might have been chocolate. It was a big hit.

If you want to compare my version to the real thing, here is a link with photos of the building.

The thing about the hoarding that I wanted to add - is this. I have visited people from time to time who say, "Here is all the mail you have ever sent to me." It's really fun to see it. So, maybe some day I will go visit my mail. I'll give ample warning that I am on my way. I do have one invitation. If anyone else wants to be on the list, now would be the time to let me know.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Bonus post - John Stevens

I'm sure I have sent you to John Stevens' IG account. This just popped up and if you are drawn to contemporary versions of illumination you will enjoy seeing it in better resolution on his IG.

Today's regular post is below.

PO re-writing my address

I sent this envelope to Trish in the April Exchange. Somebody at the PO was not pleased with the way I scattered the address information all over the envelope so they rewrote it on a label. But, they didn't get it quite right.

Trish's last name starts with M and was written on the crossbar of the T in Trish. They put that name down as the city. And the A-word tucked between the r-i in Trish - is the town where Trish lives and the postal worker put that as her last name.

I have been (usually) making my address information more traditional and easy to read - but in April, I had a whole sheet of those ships to use up - and I did a bunch of envelopes with BIG first names - and then I couldn't think of any way to make them interesting. Plus the 3 ships were not fun to place. Now that they are all gone - I have just had my good idea on how I should have used them up use ---I should have done a Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria theme....two of them sailing off the left side and the third one stuck over on the right with a word bubble saying --"Hey guys....wait for me."

I am currently working on the May exchange envelopes and trying to think of things where the address has a traditional spot. Using up the stamp hoard is soooooooo hard. I think I've turned the corner from loving the stamps like my children ---to where they are now bothersome guests who have over-stayed their welcome.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Weaver Writing - Kathy & Carroll

Here are the shimmer envelopes done with Weaver Writing.

Kathy's is a regular envelope.

Below - Molly's and Troy's were in a different photo that I already posted. There are three more on shimmer.

At the bottom -  Cathy O's is regular. Kate's is shimmer, but I used a gold Sharpie.

Why am I telling you which ones are shimmer and which are not? You have eyes. Why am I pointing out that one of them is gold? Because sometimes I have nothing to say. I guess I could mention how painful it is to part with stamps that have been in my hoard for a really long time. Yes, I do watch snippets of the TV program Hoarders - just to reassure myself that having my hoard contained in drawers is probably not that serious. Maybe that is the true purpose of the blog. If I get lonesome - I can always look back at my little friends.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Jan Exchangers - Kraft Paper (4)

A couple days ago we saw how popular blue was in the January exchange. Kraft paper came in second with four.

On top, to the right is Janets and KathyS's below.

Below is a foxy design from Jeanette and a bold black and white design from Bug.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Weaver Writing - March Exchange

I pulled out my Weaver Writing that I learned from Gwen Weaver in 2000. I'm pretty sure I have not used it since then and I must also admit that I altered quite a few details.

If you Google Weaver Writing you will find all kinds of examples.

In using up shimmer envelopes and random vintage stamps, I had fun. I wouldn't call these my best work - but they weren't so toady that I tossed them. I'll post the shimmer envelopes on a different day.

Did any of you watch the Alan Blackman video that I posted a while back? I finally got around to watching it and was very interested to hear Alan say that he has boxes and boxes full of his envelopes that were duds. He also made several comments about things he would have done differently - as he was showing the slides of his envelopes. Alan's envelopes were instrumental in the launching of my own addiction. I really need to send him a thank you letter. If any of you know his address, please send it to me. I think someone already did - but I have no idea where I filed it....

Thursday, May 3, 2018

January Exchangers - Five Blue

A nice group of envelopes that arrived in January. It was fun to see lots of blue.

Chuck's is to the right. Below, from top to bottom are snowflakes from Nanski and Sarahi.

And a fun sledding name from KateR and a nice script with the Tiffany window stamps from Alison.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Big Hearts to Connie and Jeanette

These were very uninspired so I added some lacy borders. There was a previously written blurb to go with these but I just deleted it so that I could write a post in real time. 7pm on Tuesday May 1st.

First, I want to thank all the people who have done a perfect job of submitting their information to join the exchange. It has been so much faster to copy and paste into the list.

Second, I had a crazy lapse in reading names and sent some very confusing emails to people on a couple lists. The way emails organize themselves into threads has me completely confounded.

So if you get a confusing email from me - don't be afraid to respond, "What the heck are you talking about?" Not that I will have an answer......just keep track of what you send and what you receive...and if you are missing any envelopes, let me know.

All the mail has been lovely and the daily posts are scheduled all the way through June. Thanks to everyone.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sign Up for May Envelope Exchange

A whimsical envelope from Nonny Mouse.

To sign up, you need to send me your current information. I need to copy and paste from a new email each month. I am unable to pick up your information from previous exchanges.

NEW PEOPLE - please follow these easy instructions:

Please send me your name, address, zip code, email -single spaced, with the line breaks you prefer. I do not need a line space between address and zip code. If you put one in, I just delete it.

June Smith
240  Main Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50312 USA

Sign up is May 1 though the 4th.
I will reply that your email has arrived, so if you do not hear from me, resend your info.
Your list will be sent to you on May 5th or 6th.
You will have a list of 6 people, including yourself.
Please send a decorated envelope -to the other 5- by May 31st.
No theme - beginners are welcome - any medium is fine - calligraphy is optional.
Digital art is fine - as is rubber stamping - and hand made envelopes.
BEGINNERS are most welcome. Everyone started out as a beginner - so don't worry about your skill level.

If you would like to be on more than one list - let me know.
If you are having a birthday in May - type (BIRTHDAY) after your name.
Birthday themed envelopes are optional.
If you like to make cards, type (CARDS) after your name. Card makers are welcome to exchange cards. Last month 10 out of 28 people were card makers.
I do not make cards and usually send an empty envelope.
About half the envelopes I receive are empty.

Beginners: you may read more about the exchange on the *rules* tab. On your phone, you need to go to View web version - to see the tabs. I think that covers everything. If you have questions - just email me.

You may get one foreign address on your list. Mail to foreign countries costs $1.15

Monday, April 30, 2018

Feb Exchange Stack of Hearts to Bug & Alison

These are from that set of 14 ideas to go with the Harvey Milk stamp - but you could use the idea in any number of ways. Any shape would work.
Any set of colors would work.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

From Exchanger Finnbadger - Canada

Hey, Jean. Remember that blizzard day in early February when you found that box of mail that seemed to be waiting to go on the blog. And you were sure that this one had already been on - but you couldn't find it - so you might be reposting it - or maybe not. ..

It is now April 27th of this year and I am checking posts to see how looney I was when I wrote them and this one was looney - so I am editing it and inserting a surfing opportunity.

I love nearly all of The Painters Keys - and refrain from re-posting all of them - but this one is soooo good. I had never heard of James Harvey - and really like his paintings.

The Painter's Keys - 4-27-18 post

Here is a close up of the stamps.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Taco John Placemat to Finnbadger

It was surprising to me when I did a search on the blog for Taco John's that there are only 4 posts about Taco John's. I feel like I talk about my TJ habit all the time. This envelope is waiting for the address and stamp.  It was made from a placemat and is folded neatly and inserted into a vellum envelope.

Below are three photos showing the placemat, the first fold and the final fold. I was going to glue the folds and make the placemat into the actual envelope, but, it was looking so close to an A6 that I just couldn't resist the temptation to check and see if it actually was. I had to make a half inch tuck to make it fit perfectly. Since I had done a fair amount of digging to find the envelope, it was going to take too much time to put it back, so I'm using it.

The idea that may be of interest to people who like to make their own envelopes out of found items is that paper placemats are a nice size. Plus, if you are eating alone, it gives you something to do. Everyone else will be glued to their phones. It's nice to have an alternative to the phone.

Final envelope at the very end. Great stamps. I will miss them. But, the hoard reduction generates a fair amount of brain-calm.

The full placemat
The placemat folded in half. You can see the extra tuck that was needed to make it fit the envelope
Final fold where it could have been glued and made into an actual envelope.

Friday, April 27, 2018

March Exchange - Neon to Susan & Nanski

This one appeared earlier without stamps. I'm sad to report that I have run out of those stamps and it looks like they are all gone. I will resist the temptation to drive around to all the branch offices and see if anyone has any left over.

Below is another experiment with the neon highlighters. It was fun - but took a lot of time to add all those drop shadows.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cinco de Mayo - experiments - Maggie & Janet

Two more - trying both Sharpie and paint pens. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to go with those decorative lines.

This style is growing on me, but still needs some work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Penman Art Journal - Signatures, Happy Faces, Romance

On Feb 19th I fell down a rabbit hole on the internet. Janna started it when she left a comment about the woman who had addressed invitations to JFKs inauguration.

I did a search for itinerant penman calling cards - which led me to The Encyclopedia of Ephemera.

And that lead me to the Penman's Art Journal. I'll post a link for anyone who wants to look at the kind of magazines that were available to the people who were making a living at penmanship - back in the day. 1898. I read the first page and it says that this is their 26th year publishing the monthly journal. Tempting to find out if all of the issues are online. I'll just label this *follow-up* and save it for later.

The top clip is just a random page with signatures. The bottom clip caught my eye because it is more whimsical than the rest of the publication.  There are articles on teaching children. You can flip forward and back - to see all the pages.

Penman's Art Journal Pg 114

If you need additional surfing - here is a link to a chunk of The Encyclopedia of Ephemera. It will open on the page that talks about itinerant penman. I have a couple calling cards from that era and next time they poke their little selves out of a pile, I will scan and post them.

Encyclopedia of Ephemera

From the Penman's Art Journal
Something made me surf just a bit longer and I found one more item that is adorable.

On the same page (88) there is an article about Platt Rogers Spencer who originated the Spencerian style of writing. It includes a long poem that he wrote about his struggles with alcohol. There is also a picture of him with his 5 sons and  mentions that he had 3 daughters as well.

At first I was kicking myself for surfing - but the poem on Platt's struggle with addiction made me feel so much better. My addiction is so harmless. And I am happy to report that my working space is getting so tidy I might have to post a photo of it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cinco de Mayo - experiments - Janna & Lynne

Janna's was done with a paint pen and the neon highlighters. Lynne's was done with Sharpies. I generally try Sharpies for addressing. These will be mailing labels which are notoriously difficult to write on.

I like the taller letters better - but with names - you have to allow for different lengths.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Simple Ideas for Lettering and Layout - No. 3 -NOT

Leonardo da Vinci's Drawing Materials

I deleted the last set of examples because they were ugly.
The first two sets were also ugly - but I don't have time to redo blog posts.
You will just have to put up with the mish-mash-chaos.

If you have time - the video about Leo's tools is very interesting.

Or you may have a sneak peak at one of the exchange envelope that I am sending in the April. It's been a wretched month. But, I am using up a lot of stamps.

Mostly wretched weather - but enough other bothersome drivel that I feel somewhat inspired to accomplish better hoard reduction.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Because today's regular post is a bit lame, I am adding a post about a rabbit hole that may be of interest to some of you who love books.

It is a link to an article with several links to digitized offerings from libraries. If you scroll down, you will get to the U of Iowa and there are two links. One to miniature books and another one to a very interesting book - which I happened to note was donated by someone I am acquainted with who lives a few blocks from me...Fritz James - for those of you who may know Fritz.
Anyhow - here's a good rabbit hole:

Not to mention that atlasobscura has a ton of interesting stuff.....

Simple Ideas for Lettering and Layout - No. 2

More ideas using the geometric shapes of letters to create spaces for the addresses.

Again - I like a lot of contrast in point size.

Other ideas include riffing on the stamp, exaggerating the ascenders and descenders.