Monday, January 22, 2018

Bonus Post - New Love Stamp from Rifle

New LOVE stamp from the Rifle designers. Only comes in 1-oz Forevers - no coordinating 2-oz stamp for wedding invitations.

Today's regular post is right below.

Gold Experiment - Kate's quilt

That stamp seemed like fun and the stitching details seemed like a good idea. Then it was hard to find another stamp. With the bit of red on the quilt stamp, I thought it would be OK to write the street/city/state in red and blue ink in a square. But it didn't look right. So I tried covering it up with a navy square with white writing. That didn't work, so I added a bit of red. It could have been a success if I had not adhered the stamps and been able to move the address and the two stamps around to find a pleasing placement. I also pondered more navy squares.

The amount of time I spent on this one was ridiculous. But better than doing chores.

You can see the shimmer a lot more on the photo below.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rachael's Pirate Map - and mine

Rachael sent this during the September exchange and as we all know, Talk Like a Pirate Day is in September. I am a huge fan of maps. And pirate maps are the most fanciful.

Shout out to my granddaughter who is 4. When she was visiting last year, just before her 4th birthday, she was putting a sailor dress on a doll that lives at my house. She insisted that it was a pirate dress. I so wanted to know how she managed to confuse sailors and pirates. I suppose she has seen them in books or movies. There was no way to convince her that it was a sailor dress. It was a pirate dress.

Below is a map I drew for a high school party that was organized by those of us who had a kid graduation. Many parents work long and hard to create a theme party that keeps the kids entertained (and locked in) at the school on the night of graduation. Many parents work all night. Not this parent. The last time I stayed up all night was during childbirth - and I vowed it was my last all-nighter. To avoid all-night duty (at each of the three years I had a graduate) I always jumped on the t-shirt design committee. Each kid got a t-shirt that was their ticket to get into the party. I also worked overtime on any kind of artwork for other committees. I wish I had pictures of some of the things I did over the years. It was fun to provide art services to committees where they were obligated to produce things - but really didn't have any art background.

I whipped this out pretty fast and always wished I had had time to do a more polished copy. But, for kids - it was fine.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Anything Goes - to KateR

Gold gouache outline - gold oil-based Sharpie - done in the warm up stage.

Flip side of envelope:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Gold Experiment to Lynne (and a rant)

Nothing says holidays like a couple dinosaurs. This was a Dec exchange envelope. The gold doesn't look all that gold on the kraft paper.

Previously, we have seen how I did just a bit of colored pencil - and figured that would be enough.

As I started with outlining, I worked on about three of them at the same time - but didn't have stamps in mind.

*Warning - there is an off topic rant coming up. Skip it unless you have time to waste.

This one seems a little unfinished or random - but that's how I feel about all that stuff that we dig up about the past. I get so frustrated with how scientists dig up a few clues and then extrapolate a whole story and then (here's where it gets personal) they put it in books and make us learn it and make us take tests. That's just wrong. They tried to tell me that our particular branch of humanity never intermingled with Neanderthals.  Excuse me? Have you ever looked at people out in public. There are a ton of *missing links* walking around. I can even see a couple of them in photos of my relatives. I knew the science textbooks were wrong. Recently, the scientists corrected themselves. I am still waiting for an apology. It's funny. I can remember my  high school chemistry and physics teachers - but not biology. Wonder who is was. Maybe the BigHelpfulBrother remembers. Can't you just see me storming some nursing home demanding an apology from some elderly, retired teacher?

Thank you for putting up with my morning rant. I drink cold brew coffee and I'm beginning to think it's a little more potent when the batch of extract is fresh.

Public service announcement.
You can buy shots of coffee and have them with you at all times.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jackie Landscape No. 2

Second in a series of what I call landscapes because that strong horizontal strip looks like a horizon.

This one is fun with the stamp overlapping the name.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Anything Goes to Jannie and KathyMcC

In my on-going problem with spelling kindly without an E -- I caught myself promptly - but had already done the one to Bug Skott where I was embracing bad spelling. So, I did some more on Jannie's.

Kathy's was done earlier - but then these two fell together when I got into the whole stamp thing. I have no idea why I decided to frame Paul. I guess the stamp is a bit of a portrait. Not that formal - but definitely a portrait.

I am very fond of the idea of framing and outlining stamps. I forget to do it. I predict there will be more stamp framing in 2018.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Jan Exch to Janna + Genn Article

This is a Jan exchange envelope that is still on my desk. 
I bumped today's pre-scheduled post after I read a recent Sara Genn article. From time to time I post letters by Sara or her late father, Robert. I highly recommend all of the letters because they cover so much valuable information about both the nuts and bolts of being creative, but also the mind-games that we all struggle with. I preach all of the same things that they preach, but they are better wordsmiths. You can sign up to receive the letters. You get two per week, usually a new one from Sara and a re-run from Robert.

So read this, take it to heart, and always remember that the time you steal to make art is worthwhile. I especially like that it dovetails the process with music and sports. You can apply this topic to anything

I have permission to reprint the letters.
If this is the first time you have heard about the Genns, here is a link to the website.

Dear Artist,
In the new pile of books brought by Santa and others, I noticed an early edition of The Inner Game of Music. Written in 1986 by Barry Green, former Principal Bassist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “The Inner Game” explores how musicians can temper the hang-ups that stymie heightened creative expression. After researching the nuts and bolts of peak performance with his co-author, sports psychology coach W. Timothy Gallwey, Green determined that performance techniques used by tennis players might also be applied to the arts. Artists, like athletes, while chasing flow and the truth, can instead be bound up with fear, perfectionism, rote and bad vibes.
While alone in the studio striving to solve problems in my own work, I’ve noticed there always arrives a moment of choice, when I can fold up creatively at the panic and shame of possible failure, or let go and trust in the process of discovery. If I can manage the latter, a temporal, but satiating pleasure in the actual, physical activity at hand emerges. After all, if a painting is, among other things, a record of the act of painting, then might we release ourselves from the burden of results and instead simply create? In this system, the end product may even take care of itself.
If you’re still with me, Barry and Timothy suggest this unburdening is achieved by first understanding that we’re made up of two selves: a chiding, full-of-doubt, accuracy junkie who hurls negative comments at a talented joy machine emoting in a carefree orgy of self-expression. This interfering inner voice is an art-killer and must be silenced with a master technique called, “relaxed concentration.” By getting into a state where we’re alert, relaxed, responsive and focused, we can casually make magic while still employing a learned, technical prowess. Here are a few of Barry’s tips for relaxed concentration, adapted for painting:
Be aware of what’s going on in your work by aligning your feelings with what you’re doing.
Be committed to the main goal of making art by putting expression first.
Let your muscle memory do the technical heavy lifting. Think of your practiced, mastered skills as an insurance policy against self-doubt, but also as a set of wings for heightened expression. If you want to be a painter, you need to know how to paint. This mastery frees you to then slip into an automatic mode of play and communication.
Trust in the character of the thing you want to express. Tune into what could be bubbling up from your own, inner joy machine. Does the work, in its purest form, have a casual quality? Is it excited or calm? Is it gorgeous? Is it troubled? What expression are you really conveying?
Lastly, trust in a brotherhood and sisterhood of greatness. Can you draw on the vibes of another or role-play as a means of channelling a certain character of expression? Barry may suggest his students play for a minute like Charlie Mingus, just to get a feeling for the expression. In doing so, we may grow accustomed to the sensations and pull our own uniqueness from within.
PS: “Forget shoulds and experience is.” (W. Timothy Gallwey)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Gold Experiment - to Maggie

This envelope is a Smythson, left over from a job. Smythson paper is one of the few papers that is more luxurious than Crane's. It was in the stack of leftovers and I had high hopes. Sadly, I had not done any warm up so the lettering was a little boring.

I'm OK with the way the stamp and footprints work - but overall, the balance is off.

Here is the link to Smythson stationery. Warning, tuck a napkin under your chin. There will be drooling.

Just noticed that I am over 900,000 on views of my blog.
I wonder when I will hit a million.
I wonder if I have a post that mentions hitting 800,000.

***she leaves***she returns****

Exactly one minute later because Google is magical and answered my search for 750,000 after 800,000 yielded nothing.

I was over 750,000 in May of 2017.
So that took 8 months to get 150,000 hits.
So, maybe 5 or 6 months to get to 1 million....

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Black Hole of Exchanges - Jan exchange to Sara

Sara is not the person who left the comment.
Back on Jan 6th, I wondered about the people who only sign up for the exchange once. A very nice two-time exchanger left this comment:

As someone who signed up for my second--I almost didn't, and it was because while the envelopes were beautiful, I was surprised at the lack of any personal interaction with most of them. I think I only got one with an inclusion. Which is fine--I understand that the exchange is only about envelopes, and that some people like the simplicity of that.

I sent out five envelopes and they went into a black hole, as far as I could tell.

However, I signed up again this month with a little shift in expectation and an idea for eliminating the black-hole feeling. It's a shift some folks might not want to make.

Also...I know from long years of mail-art participation that people sign up with high excitement, and then blank at the drawing board, so that their participation is more stressful than they expected.

(end of comment)

I was happy that she was giving the exchange another chance - and I really wanted to add a personal note in my envelope to her - but - I'm the best example of someone who likes doing the envelopes and always have too much on my plate - and the only way the envelopes will ever get out the door is if I skip the part where I include a note.

Above is an example of my typical struggles with exchanges. I am trying to use up old stamps. It is so hard to find stamps that fit both the lettering and the envelope. This one is going out of the country so it needs $1.15. I need to follow my own excellent advice and start with the stamp, stupid. SWTSS

Slightly more than half of the envelopes I receive are empty. In December, there are way more enclosures - mostly holiday cards. I imagine there are some people who would enjoy more conversation between fellow exchangers. Maybe I should have people add some kind of designation when they sign up to indicate that they like to exchange or not exchange notes. That way...we would know when a note would be appreciated. Let me know what you think of that idea, please and thank you. Here is a second comment that confirms what I suspected - it's hard to find time to squeeze in everything we'd like to be doing.

Interesting take. I participated quite some time back, but I never experienced the black hole feeling, but I think I understand what you're saying. I assumed, when I signed up, that it was just an envelope exchange. Each month some envelopes arrived with enclosures and I wondered, oh, was I supposed to do that too? I mostly create digitally, so I started including what program I used and how I accomplished the look. Most everyone creates by hand so I wasn't sure if my explanation was interesting or not. 

I soon found, I didn't really have the time to devote to enclosures, as I was lucky to get my envelopes in the mail on time! Right before I stopped participating, I wanted to transition away from digital to hand crafted, but my life got too crazy and I've still not gotten my office set up after our down sizing move. One day, I'll be back! I've been buying envelopes and markers! 

I hope you'll keep participating, I found it more interesting with more people. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Dec Exchange - Gold Experiment to Nanski

First of all, it should have been Nanski. Sorry.

This one is more representative of what my gold experiments looked like. Very chunky, wonky letters.

I started with 10 or 12 and came up with 5 or 6 ways to refine them. It was hard to decide when to stop.  I tend to like simple. On some, I really took off and did a lot. Plus I was working on all of them at the same time. I kept rotating through the stack - so, some ended up with more layers than others.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Krafty from Jannie and Sohan

There were quite a few kraft paper envelopes in September. Both of these exchangers use real nibs and ink.

I can't tell if the apple is watercolor or gouache or something else.

Sohan's white ink has some very nice hairlines - but I can't tell what kind of ink it is - or perhaps it is gouache.

There was a bonus post yesterday about Anne Frank's Iowa pen pal. If you are interested, you may scroll down to the see it.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Snowy Day and Anne Frank's Iowa Penpal

This post is appears in real time - written just yesterday.

After 16 days in Chicago, surviving subzero weather and feral grandkids, I returned to balmy Iowa to open my stack of delightful mail. There were also magazines and a short article about Anne Frank's Iowa pen pal caught my eye. While I am not a native of Iowa and there is much about this state that annoys the heck out of me, I do appreciate finding tidbits like this.

Here is a link to one article:

I also visited the website of the museum in Danville, Iowa, where the pen pal lived. You have to really dig to figure out that Danville is in Iowa. It is a very small town in the southeastern corner. I'm not sure I will make it down there. But, I'll include that link as well, in case anyone is interested.

And then----there was info about a postcard project.
You may read about it on this Facebook page.

Or, if you are not on Facebook, you may read the Facebook info below.
This is way off topic for me. I usually stick to pens and markers and playtime.
I assure you this is just a rare blip on the screen and tomorrow we will return to playtime.
I am happy to have a place to send all my excess postcards....

Acceptance of a Great Challenge

Unfortunately, intolerance is shaping the world we live in. Every day, at every level and every age, people face intolerance because they are different in some way. Students are made to feel that they are unimportant because they look different or have different beliefs. People are mocked, excluded, and physically hurt because of religion, sexual orientation, race, and a variety of other "differences." The results of this behavior can range from hurt feelings to avoiding school to school violence to entire nations ripped apart by genocide.
In the fall of 2012, Danville’s eighth grade took on a tough project; they are aiming to get 1.5 million postcards. Intolerance is a major issue in schools across America, as well as the world. To change this, their reading and social studies teachers (Cassandra Macans and Kelly Henry) teamed up with the local Anne Frank Museum, with the help of Janet Hesler, to raise awareness of this issue. They were inspired by other projects, such as Paperclips (a very similar project from Tennessee that experienced great success), Inside Hannah’s Suitcase (a project in Japan that started with a suitcase and ending with a great museum exhibit), and The Freedom Writers (a young teacher worked to increase acceptance in her classroom through journals, among many other things).
The Holocaust was chosen as the backbone for this project because that is an example of what can happen when people allow intolerance to shape their actions; it also demonstrates the importance of bystanders. To start the project, the eighth graders looked far into history to follow the persecution of Jewish people, using traditional historical accounts, as well as folktales and other stories. Then, they read The Diary of Anne Frank and visited the Anne Frank Museum upon it’s completion. This is when their project was explained to them.
They were challenged with the goal of collecting 1.5 million postcards; this would obviously be a multiyear project. Postcards were chosen because Anne Frank collected them. The goal of 1.5 million is to honor the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust. They have been writing postcards explaining their project to Jewish schools all across the country. So far, they have received over two thousand postcards! Some schools were generous enough to send entire packets of postcards! People have also been generous enough to go through personal collections of postcards to donate them to help this group reach their goal. Some of the most interesting postcards have been the ones from China; they even wrote their messages in both English and Chinese! This project has also been covered in multiple newspapers, such as the Des Moines County News, The Hawkeye, and The Cedar Rapids Gazette. They’ve even been covered on a local news channel! This media help has allowed them the publicity to work towards their goal.
These eighth graders didn’t stop with the persecution of Jewish people. They have also looked at the treatment of the Japanese during WWII, the past and current treatment of Muslims, and treatment of those with disabilities. They have had guest speakers explaining the hurt that intolerance causes.
Though this group is a long way from their goal; these kids have met part of their goal. They feel that they are treating each other better than they did before this project was started. They, and the community, has come together due to this project.
The eighth graders will be passing this project on to the next group of eighth graders. They have two requests to make of you. First, move past tolerance. To tolerate someone is not good enough. If you are merely tolerating someone, you are still implying that something about them is “not good enough.” It is time to accept people for who they are. Instead of rejecting differences, such as religion or race, accept those people for who they are.
Their second request is much simpler. Send them a postcard. Help them reach their goal. Please address the postcard to:
Danville Postcard Project
419 South Main
Danville, IA 52623

Anything Goes to Holly

Holly was another new exchanger in September. I only did one of these on gray. The sparkles probably don't show up. It's subtle - but I'm thinking I need to get another sheet of eclipse stamps. Square. Black. Minimalist. Three of my favorite things.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dec Exchange - Gold Experiment to Patty

I only did one like this during the Dec experiment where I crashed out a bunch of wonky gold - and then tried to figure out some clever 2nd and 3rd steps.

I like this one - but most of the *like* hinges on the stamp and with only a couple of these left, I abandoned the idea. But the idea of scattering tiny little letters across the envelope has a lot of potential.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Eric's Bag-a-lopes

Eric has been exchanging a lot of bags made into envelopes. This one had a lovely postcard with a kitten and a puppy. I like anything with kittens and puppies together because I am not a cat person nor am I a dog person. No pets growing up although I have known some lovely pets. I tend to avoid doing anything with cats or dogs because I don't want to come across as favoring one or the other.

I love bags. It took a lot of will power to not send a couple bags a week to Eric. And when I think of the number of bags that I had hoarded and then let makes me a little wistful. But, I'm better to be in my less hoard-y state.

Note-to-self: add the beagle story when you find a picture of Lady Jane.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Test Pattern to Hannah - Anything Goes

This was the very last envelope that I did in the series of 20 - using Anything Goes style of lettering. I have no idea if anyone else will like it - but it is one of my favorites. I performed the nozzle cleaning action on my printer and this was the test page to see if it worked. I can't tell if it worked, but the piece of paper was sitting on my desk and I decided it wanted to be an envelope and *voila.* Hannah was new to the exchange that month - so I hope she was OK with something that is not very calligraphic. I assume by the time someone joins the exchange they are aware of the wide-wide-wide range of styles that come out of the 420.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Eric has started drawing

This was on Eric's blog in 2017 - maybe October? I didn't keep track. I was impressed that he has started drawing on his envelopes. I have nothing against computer design. Your eyes and brain go through the same steps to create with a computer. But, you hands are not involved in a very interesting way. Working with the pencils, pens. markers, etc can be very satisfying. The tactile sense is different than the punching of keys on the keyboard.

I am looking forward to my first hand drawn envelope from Eric. Hint hint.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Maybe Re-Run - Scribbling with Paint

The top one is from Dianne, a person who exchanged just once. I always wonder why people exchange only once. I never hear from them. I never hear anything negative. Sometimes I hear about people moving or having other things going on...

I do not recall posting this envelope and on the day it jumped out of a very random hiding place - it also spoke to me and asked me to do my own version. Dianne's clearly looks like paint applied with a brush. I tried to make the same general look using markers. Markers get muddy when layered, so that was the challenge. Cover all the paper without much overlap. It was FUN. I'd like to do more. Will label it follow-up.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Blue Lace Stamps to Rachael

Many moons ago I had a new bottle of blue McCaffrey's ink. I addressed a couple envelope in a tiny, no cap script. They were gathering dust - and I couldn't think of anything spectacular so I parted with some uber-favorite stamps.

Then I had another dusty start to Miss Cathy. And the last of the Alcoholism stamps. These have been very difficult to use. I have never found a good time to add them to mail going to anyone I know.

As a retired postal worker, I figured Cathy would not take offense at the stamps.

As I write this, I am having some serious deja vu. It feels like I have already written about this stamp. If I already posted this envelope - sorry - I'm 99% sure the top one is not a repeat - so you are getting your one new envelope today.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jackie Landscape No.1

I found 6 envelopes (images hiding in my files) from Jackie that were probably done in 2015 and I am pretty sure that I did not post them.

I'm guessing they are watercolor. She might have used masking fluid on the names.

Jackie is one of the three people who had a fair number of envelopes on the blog who has also done a considerable amount of formal study. So, you can try stealing ideas from her - but it will be very challenging to actually make anything even close to this.

The stealable part will be the idea of running the name from coast to coast. I'll label this *follow-up* and maybe I can do some easier versions of this layout.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Indigo to Nanski

The last indigo envelope. I remember putting the stamps lower because I had something clever for the king and queen to say. Then, by the time I got around to finishing the envelope, I forgot what they were going to say. I had just ruined a nice envelope - so I did not want to have another mishap with ink and chose a gray G-Tec. Ho-hum - but done.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Anything Goes to Eric

There was one more in this series that went to Eric. He's mentioned that he likes interesting stamps. So, I chose some for color. I really didn't want to use Winston Churchill on a stamp going to France. Not that I know enough about history to know whether or not he ever offended the French people. But, I couldn't find anything that worked in that spot.

Feel free to cover him up if you'd like to, Eric.

Monday, January 1, 2018

January Envelope Exchange Sign-up

This one did not need any repair, I just wanted to add something, so I wrote her name 9 times. I really liked it. Of course, it looks better when I do not have the address blocked out.

It is time to sign up for the January Exchange. Beginners are welcome. You will get a list of 4-5-or-6 people to send envelopes to. One of them may be out of the US and international mail requires $1.15 postage.

No theme, any medium, digital is welcome. Enclosures are optional. This is an envelope exchange.
Please put your return address on the back and write OPEN if there is an enclosure or EMPTY if there is none. It is also nice to write JAN.PTEX on the back of the envelope for those who may participate in more than one exchange. PTEX stands for Pushing the Envelopes Exchange.

To sign up -even if you have signed up many times- I need the following information typed (please do not type in all caps). 

Your email

Non-US exchangers - please follow the format that your postal system prefers.

Email the above information to me at;
jmwilson411 (at) yahoo (dot) com

If you are having a birthday in January, let me know. Exchangers have the option to send a birthday themed envelope.
If you are agreeable to be on two lists, let me know. It is nice to have a few people willing to do ten envelopes in order to make all the lists come out even.

Deadline to sign up is January 4. Lists will be sent on Jan 5th or 6th. Please get your envelopes in the mail by January 31st. If you are going to be late, please email the people on your list so that we know your envelope will be late.

Any questions - email me.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Indigo Repair to Sohan + Eric

This was the simplest repair on the indigo series. I'll add one below that was not a repair at all. I just thought it needed something extra so I added a bunch of gobble-dee-gook. At first it just had flourishing - then I added some layered names to another one - and that made me come back and add the tiny *Erics* to this one.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Off-Topic Saturday - Dream Car

This would be so cool. I could have a little studio in the back. Drive around addressing on location. Visit my pen pals.

Just need a winning lottery ticket or maybe I should try GoFundMe.

$5,000 - I could swing that.
Bad news:
1963 Willys postal jeep. Low miles, all original. Does not turn over. No brakes. Will deliver for a fee.

Next idea:
Convince our local art museum that it is a work of art and have them install it and let me run my own performance piece by showing up and addressing envelopes. I'd be the only one with a key to get in....

Friday, December 29, 2017

Anything Goes to Inta and Connie

I hope these arrived. If not, let me know. Maybe they are hard to read, but technically each letter is very clear.

In this series of 20, I had two going out of the country, requiring extra postage. It's always hard to decide if I want to use the international stamps or use up old stamps from the pre-Forever days.

I guess the apples are more fun than the globe - but I like the way the circle stamp goes with all the bold circles in the lettering. I did not think about that before I chose the stamp.

That's the fun of Anything Goes - you can let the letters decide who is going to get more attention. I could expand on that thought, but it would take way more than I ever spend on one post. I'll just label this - follow-up and I might add more some day.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Indigo Repair to Connie

This one had a splatter to conceal. I had to keep adding to the doodads until it seemed like the right amount.
Finding the right stamps was helpful. The apple doesn't really go, but, it started to remind me of a whole Adam and Eve thing....or maybe one of those stories where you insert pictures for words.

What are those called?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Indigo Repair to Jeanette

This was the least successful repair to a transposed number situation that I inadvertently covered up so you can't really see and decide for yourself how good or bad this one is.

Jeanette was new to the exchange and I was sad to send her a mishap - but maybe it's fine. I make so many mistakes that it's better to illustrate how mistakes are of no importance. In brain surgery - mistakes matter. But with envelopes, we can be lazy and sloppy and sometimes it helps with all the other things going on in our lives to have a place where we can kick back and relax.

The exact street address and zip code are the only things that matter. And to a certain extent - it's nice to spell the name right....but if anyone is going to get bent out of shape over me spelling their name wrong - then they probably need to find a different exchange.

Note to self---have an exchange where we spell names wrong on purpose.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Anything Goes to Smash and JeanR

Two more early envelopes in the 20 September exchange series. It is hard to know if readers are annoyed when the level of variety dips. Since nobody has complained in 7 years, I'll assume that you are all OK with how things are going.

Yes, I know I have excess *eeee's* in kindly.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Indigo Ink - October Exchange

It is doubtful that these images will look very good on screens, so they will be ganged.

The top one has a spelling error on Mississippi that I am going to ignore. There will be some other errors coming up that I did not ignore.

These also show the range in size - starting tight and small - then getting larger and looser.

There is a spelling error on Kathie's. Her name is McClendon. I will tuck a C into the loop on the L.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Top Ten Presents - 2017 Xmas Story

Last year there was a heart warming holiday blog post about my younger son and his fine sense of humor. When I saw this envelope, it seemed like a good opportunity to post another story about Mr. Haha even though it is not visually stunning.

The 2016 Xmas Story

He made the gift certificate and envelope for my 2015 Christmas present. At the time, my mom had hit her *sell by* date. She had always said that 88 years would be the right number of years to live. Not too long after her 88th birthday in August, she started to deteriorate. Nothing too troublesome, but just enough that my son must have heard some comments from me that indicated I was getting to be a little overwhelmed or frazzled with eldercare. (She did end up dying 9 months after her 88th birthday.)

Here is the gift certificate. I love the globe-map he drew in the background. He was a big map drawer when he was a kid. And he is a southpaw. And he hooks.

Here is the text in case it is too hard to read on a screen:
G-Free, Inc.
Congratulations, You're a Winner!
Hi, we at G-FreeInc (Grandma Free Incorporated) have hand selected you as our annual recipient of one hired assistant to aid in the day-to-day chores that go along with grandma maintenance. This offer is valid for one full year with the option of a renewal contract for the same amount of time at no additional cost pending the satisfaction of the contract holder upon completion of this year's service.

*Your hired aid may be contacted @ 555-855-6556, however we cannot guarantee their ability to aid at every moment of the day. It is possible that your hired aid may potentially be assisting other grandmas elsewhere. We thank you for your understanding of this matter.

We invite you to exercise your option on this contract and reap the benefits of:
- having more free time
- saving on gas mileage
- going out in the winter...forget about it
- not having to deal with senility
and many more!
Once again, this is a wonderful opportunity and we invite you to join us & free up your life again!
Hunter Wilson
(CEO & Founder)

It should come as no surprise that I am cultivating this kid to be my caregiver in the event that I need one. I've told the other two kids that Hunter will inherit the house if he figures out how to take care of me and doesn't park me in a nursing home.

And he really did make an effort to spend time with his grandma. He even posted pictures of the two of them playing Yahtzee on FaceBook.

Horses for Faye - Oct Exchange

Some years I write a Christmas eve post with a silly story. So far, I have not thought of one. I figure most people are busy this time of year so I don't put too much energy into the late December posts.

I am writing this on Oct 14th - and it looks like today is the day that I am going to fill up all the spots on the blog for the rest of 2017. That will result in a huge celebration here at the 420. Details to follow....

There is nothing to say about this envelope because it is on the nasty shimmer envelope. However, I do love those stamps and it is lots of fun to pull off some doodle ideas.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Anything Goes to Carroll

There were 3 or 4 in this series that were bothering me and I couldn't figure out how to fix them. My most tried and true *life-saver* continues to be colored pencils.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Indigo Ink to Troy - Oct Exchange

On Dec 1st, I posted an envelope using indigo ink and a scroll tip nib. It was right after a loyal and devoted exchanger asked me to send her an exchange envelope in actual copperplate - but only if I had time. Since I have started teaching again I have had more time to pull out nibs and ink and I was thrilled when I found the scroll tip nib. I loved it and was going to do all of the October exchange envelopes using the scroll tip nib.

The bottom envelope was the first one on the list and it had a big blob on the very first letter - and I planned on throwing it away - but thought I would experiment a bit. Then I kept doodling on it and started to like it. I don't love it - but thought it would be fun to send to Troy. There will be other envelopes from this series that show creative ways to manage mistakes and splatters.

His outer envelope (top one) was the first one I did with a Nikko G and I will show the progression of my envelopes from small and tight to large and loose. I prefer the larger looser styles - but the tiny tight ones are probably just fine. Tiny looks better on a smaller envelope. I pondered filling up all the excess space with stamps, but as soon as I start digging through the stamp stash, I get discombobulated with the mathematical chore of getting the right amount on the envelope.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Most Pinned - 4th and 5th place

This one is from 2011. I have several styles in the category called Two-Wrongs-Do-Make-A-Right. It's a very simple idea to just write something once - and then write it again, but wander back and forth and leave spaces. Then add dots.

You might need a few lessons to learn proportions and how to shape the flourishes and curls. But if you know cursive, this one is pretty easy.

Those were mighty fine stamps. Great color options.

And the 5th place -

It made me happy to see that this one is popular. It first ran in March of 2010. The blog was born on Feb 17, 2010 - so it is a very early envelope. It was intended to be sent - but I liked it so much I kept it.

You can read how I did the lettering at the original blog post.

Elizabeth's flag

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Anything Goes to AmyG

I've never found an origin of this style. If anyone knows where it came from please let me know. I put the name Anything Goes on it quite a while ago. Basically, you mix and match tall skinny letters - ignoring the rules about caps and lower case. Before I picked up the Paul Newman stamps, I had a couple round ball stamps to use up - so this is early in the series of 20 Anything Goes envelopes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Most Pinned for the past 30 days - Chuck's 2nd and 3rd place

No surprise this one came in second. I remember that it was way ahead of the pack when they were giving us a total number of times it had been pinned. I think it arrived in 2011

And in third place....a very pretty design....arrived in 2015.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Re-running Top Pinned on Pinterest

Pinterest used to tell us how many times an image had been pinned. They no longer share that information and I'm glad. I spent too much time tracking what was just a silly popularity contest. However, they have a page called analytics where I can see Top Impressions for the last 30 days. This image is at 18,000+. So, it is winning the Dec 2017 popularity contest.

These are envelopes that arrived in 2015 and that I saved to post in Nov of 2016. Top one is from Lynne and bottom one is from Rachael.

Congratulations - you beat me by a lot. Chuck has both 2nd and 3rd place. I finally show up in 4th and 5th place.
Roughly 5,000 plus 4,000 for Chuck's and 3,000 plus 2,000 for mine.

Below is the regular scheduled post for today.
It was off topic. I'll post Chuck's and mine in a day or two.