Friday, August 18, 2017

Nancy Hills Fridays - 1

While slogging through all the confusing stuff on my electronic devices, I found 4 envelopes from the fabulous Nancy Hills. Usually, when I see one of her envelopes I have to drop everything and start doing my own version of Hillarian lettering. I have not heard from Nancy for quite a while. I hope she is OK. I have her address...maybe I should just drop in???

Thursday, August 17, 2017

June Exchange Chicken Stamps

There were just a few of these envelopes left and they looked great with the stamps. Obviously there will be more to these....not sure if I will post them after they are further along.....

Below shows Jean's a second time with the stamps in a slightly different spot.

The alphabet is from Pinterest and I think it is from a site that sells templates for sewing machines that do fancy stitching. I bet there are machines where I could do lettering, scan it, and then the machine would stitch the lettering. That would be fun to try.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Natalie Project

Congratulations to Maggie for being the first person to address an envelope to Natalie. Maggie sent me a photo - which helped me realize that I need to ask my pen pals who are going to make envelopes for Natalie to please send me an image to post on the blog. It will be really complicated for me to get together with Natalie and get images at a later date.

Thank you so much Maggie....
I have not done any yet - after a very slow wedding season, I had a flurry of jobs recently - and so on and so forth....

Thanks again, Maggie. Who do you think will be next?

For anyone who missed it -
Natalie is collecting mail that will be put on display in post offices throughout Des Moines to inspire people to send fun mail.

Here is her address:

Customer Relations Coordinator
United States Postal Service
7900 Hickman Road
Des Moines, Iowa

I suppose you could send the mail to any name you like...
and just send it C/O Natalie....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How many PITTs do I have?

I decided to use the PITTs and write one letter with each color. By the time I got to the U in Columbus, I had used all of them. So, I repeated. I thought it would look very fun with a bunch of stamps but could not find an assortment that worked. I ended up liking this stamp a lot. But, it needed something else so I started filling in with all the little stickers that came with the stamps. Now my dilemma is whether to add more to this one. I like it the way it is - but - more doodads or something might be nice.
NOOOOOO. Stop. The stamp is on. Do not mess with envelopes where the stamps are already on. What's wrong with you? You just blogged that you did not know why you had not learned your lesson.

Will she stop - or will she push it further and ruin it - or push it further and discover something fabulous.....

I think Finnbadger posted this one on his blog and I think it looks the same. Now that I see it on the blog----I think it could have used some highlight (white) dots.

Monday, August 14, 2017

June - On the Road

Done while on the road - nothing special - using up stamps.

Yesterday - I had the pleasure of helping a grasshopper with her first BIG piece of work. Some part of our conversation wandered around to something that led her to alerting me to this mighty fine video.

Allow yourself 2 minutes and 44 seconds of surfing today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lynne's Idea - June Exchange

The lower envelope is one I received from Lynne and I always liked the idea. At one point, I got around to doing the purple version. Then it got lost in a stack. Eventually, it popped up and I decided to put her name inside the squares. I was lucky to have those stamps. It was a challenging envelope to find a stamp for. The purple heart would have worked....probably. But, I was happy with the fern.

Thanks for the idea Lynne :-)

See comment below---original idea came from Smash.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wildly Exciting News - Natalie and Jean's New Mission

This envelope ran in September of 2015. There are quite a few envelope on the blog addressed to Natalie. You can see them by doing a search for *Natalie* in the search box.

I met Natalie years ago at one of the USPS branch offices. Eventually she moved to the main post office and we stayed in touch. I started mailing envelopes to her *at the front desk* and she displayed them under the glass on the counter.

A few months ago, I stopped in and asked if she was in and was told that she had moved to training for a while. I did not get the impression that it was a permanent move. I thought she would be back at the main PO at some point.

Yesterday I had my stack of August exchange envelopes to mail and a little extra time so decided to drive down to the main post office, hoping to see Natalie. She was not behind the counter - but I stood in line and hoped that if I asked to see her, maybe she was just in the back. As I waited, I happened to glance over by the post office boxes and THERE SHE WAS. I literally yelled - Natalie!!!
She said, "I've been meaning to contact you - I have a new job - Customer Relations Coordinator.

What was it that made me just happen to go to the P.O. yesterday. I still had a few envelopes left to do - but, I felt like taking a break - and remembered that it had been a long time since I had seen Natalie. Her new office is not at the main building - so it was a very chance encounter that she just happened to be there. The new people at the counter might not have even known who I was asking for or known where she had gone.

Natalie and I proceeded to brainstorm all the exciting displays of mail art that we will be able to put up at the various post offices. Obviously, I will be inviting everyone to send more mail to Natalie. I invited my readers to send mail to her once before and several people did. You may start sending mail right now - if you wish.

Customer Relations Coordinator
United States Postal Service
7900 Hickman Road
Des Moines, Iowa

Because these will be used for displays, I think we should conform to their preference for stamps in the upper right or along the top -and- addresses should be clear - horizontal - and towards the bottom. I don't think they want to advertise that you can do outrageous stuff and they will still deliver it. The point is to give the public ideas that may inspire them to decorate their envelopes and send more mail.

If you are a skilled calligrapher, I know that they will enjoy having examples of *fancy* writing. But don't feel you have to be a great calligrapher to send fun ideas.

From time to time, I may toss out some other ideas for people who want to participate. If any of you are friends with your postal workers and notice that your local post office has an empty or boring display case - I will post pictures of our displays that you may want to replicate at your own post office.

Friday, August 11, 2017

June Exchange - Blue Slow Starts

I pulled out leftover envelopes and chose stamps from the hoard that should have looked just fine.
The first two did not look promising even though  I was using a favorite pen. So I switched to the big fat PITT white markers and none of those look very promising. If I resolve any of them, I will post the revised versions. As I have said before - sometimes I need to do about 10 envelopes to warm up.

The idea of gridding off the whole envelope is pretty stuck in my head. Maybe something else will show up to replace it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

KateR's Red One - Step 3

After checking the list, I was reminded that June was Kate's birthday month, so instead of spacing the stamps out in landscape orientation, I figured I could put them in portrait mode and turn them into birthday candles.

The candles are labeled - past, present, future. I like putting 3 candles on a cake (for adults) with one candle burned all the way down, one candle lit, and one brand new candle, not represent past-present-future birthdays.

I did not care for the way these candles looked - so ended up doing something different that will appear in a few days....

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

6 Red - Step 2

Here is step two.

I found some red stamps to use up. Remember - these are the dreaded shimmer envelopes and not much sticks to them except Sharpie. Some of the other markers do OK - but you have to wait for the ink to dry.

The one to Florence is OK - but the doodads look a little like something growing in a petrie dish.

Susan's has just fine silver gel pen drop shadow. I'm struggling with that one.

Alison's lettering had gone a little too loose but I am OK with the doodads.

Grace's is driving me crazy. No amount of layering seems to be fixing it.

I thought Troy's was the worst, until I found that stamp and then I loved it. It looks better in person.

Kate's - I'm undecided. I think I might be OK with it if I tear the stamps apart and attach them so that they line up with the top and bottom of the block of copy. But then I have to get the stamps on straight and that is usually beyond my skill level. Seems odd that I can't attach stamps neatly. Sometimes I can - maybe I just need to focus....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bonus post - Correction Question and Disorganization

Three items popped into my little pea-brain. The regular daily post is right below.

Item one:
The BigHelpful Brother and I were having a conversation about something he saw in a old book - a manuscript book, which is what we call the handwritten books that came before the printing press. I started bombarding him with the tidbits I know about manuscript books. And then went looking for examples. This image is one of the examples of how silly/fanciful some of the images are. What I had hoped to find was a famous image that depicts a very clever *fix* when the scribe had omitted an entire line of copy. He or she wrote the line at the bottom of the page and then put it on a little platform with an illustrated pulley, like window washers would use. And the reader is supposed to haul the missing line up and insert it where it should have been. Is there any chance that one of my readers has seen that image and can send us a link?

Item two:
The August Exchange lists have gone out. The first item on the list asks participants to please let me know that they received their list. If you have not received your list please let me know. Thank you to all the very prompt people who have responded.

Item three:
For people new to the exchanges - I schedule my posts waaaaay ahead. Yesterday I was filling up the first two weeks in December with the July exchange envelopes that I had received. I post most of the envelopes that I receive. So, if you are waiting to see your envelope on the blog, be patient. If I have not posted your envelope, I apologize. I have tried all kinds of ways to keep the envelopes organized - but they come dribbling in - and I am always waiting for a few stragglers, so it does not work to have a chronological filing system. Then there are the images on my computer - and it is very hard to scan or photograph the images and get them on the blog in the same hour. If the images wait for later - then I have no way of remembering which are posted and which are not. I have a new idea on how to be more organized but I have no idea if it will work. In the meantime, you will just have to put up with (or enjoy) the random chaotic style of this blog. Hopefully, there are highly organized people who read the blog and feel energized and gratitudinal because they can look at my mess and think, "There but for the grace of God go I." Gratitudinal is not a word, but it should be. Or maybe there is another word that would work - lemmekno if you have a suggestions.

Random Link - Pinterest Old Timer

An aside:
While surfing on Pinterest, I found this blog post that linked to two envelopes off my blog.

I have no idea where that link leads. I started this post and left it hanging....
in the meantime, I was Pinter-surfing - and noticed this envelope which is one of the envelopes I recall seeing on the very first time I signed on to Pinterest. It gets repinned a lot:

I thought I would run it again , as I have no idea if I ever posted it - and I still think it is interesting.

What do you think the animal is?

Monday, August 7, 2017

June Exchange from Florence

I like the way Florence put the three different styles of writing on the card. It is a very nice -quick'n'easy- layout to remember if you like to tuck items in your mailings.

I regularly steal ideas from Florence. Thank you Florence for the *fan mail.* My *bestness* is reserved for a couple very narrow areas. The rest of me is hopelessly average and in some areas I am deficient ---and then there are those areas that are missing entirely. I can't think of the right word. Devoid?

I wonder if there is a chart somewhere with all the different characteristics of people. The part of me that fills in charts and graphs is above average. If anyone knows of such a chart, please share. I will attempt to resist the temptation to Google *characteristics of humans.* But you know I am heading there in two clicks. I will let you know if I find anything. I suspect some of my most devoted readers are devoted because they, too, share the love of charts and graphs.

* two minutes later*
OK, there are tons of hits - to lists...
This might take a while.....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Spiral Pairing - May Exchange

How fun is this? Two spiral designs. Technically, the bottom one, from Rachael, is concentric circles and not spirals. The top one, from Grace, has some words...

at the top it says *it's*

over to the left is an *A*

and at the bottom is and *ing*

I was really surprised how long it took me to figure it out...

Leave a comment if it took you less than 15 seconds to figure it out.

Or, I guess leave a comment, if it has been three days and you still can't figure it out....I won't post the answers until day 4 - so everyone will have a chance to play the game.

I think this is the end of the May exchange envelopes. I am writing this on the 7th of June - so my next batch of exchange envelope are starting to arrive. More than one person mentioned that participating in the exchange really seems to make each month fly by. I agree. I'm sitting here pondering that the year is almost half over. Might be time to start on the Halloween ideas....

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Flowery Pairing from the May Exchange

Maggie above.

Nanski below.

In addition to flowery compatibility, they both have nice border ideas.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Random Pairings - May Exchange

Debbie above, Chuck below.

These two didn't have anything in common - other than being welcome additions to the blog.

And I will add Troy - as I did not have a logical pairing for his and came up with an odd number for the exchange. The stacks tend to fall over and blur themselves.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Black and Kraft - May Pairings

The top one might have arrived in April, as it is a birthday envelope. It's from Rachael.

The bottom one is from Shandra.

And there were two kraft colored envelopes in May.

Smash above. Another envelope in the *bird-on-Head* series. It along running series - and I wish I had tagged them so I could pull them all up at one time....

Lynne below. Clever to pair sewing directions with the Oscar stamp.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Color Pairing from May Exchange

Nancy, above & Jannie, below.

I always love the pretty combinations of vintage stamps. The yellow one is a perfect spot of interest. I think the envelope would have been a bit understated without it.

You might see a really giant tear in Jannie's. The PO put it in an outer envelope with an apology for getting it caught in the machines.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Exchange Sign Up

Another one in the series of FPMB - Fill Page Mixed Borders. The metallic pens and markers are hard to photograph.
It's time to sign up for the August Exchange.
Please send the following information:

your email

Send it to:

jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

If you are having a birthday in August, let me know what day in August and participants have the option of sending a birthday themed envelope.
You will get a list of 4, 5, or 6 people to send to.
You might get one international address requiring $1.15 postage.
You will need to get decorated envelopes in the mail by July 31st. August 31st.
That's it.
There are additional details at the top of the blog under a tab marked [exchange *RULES*]

Deadline to sign up is August 4. Lists will be sent on August 5th or 6th.
Let me know if you want to be on more than one list.
Sometimes I do not get an even number of participants, so it is nice to have some volunteers to be on two lists.

Any questions - email me.

Monday, July 31, 2017

From Rachael - June Exchange

Rachael takes some time on her envelopes, using nibs and ink - and it looks like colored pencils. The gold is raised which you probably can't see in the photo. And in case you are wondering why some of the June exchange envelopes are not paired, it is because I had scheduled all of the birthday mail to my BigHelpfulBrother to run a second time. So, I had to back track and fill some slots with new envelopes. Sign up for August exchange starts tomorrow :-)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Off-Topic Eclipse - Bonus post

Today's regular post is right below. Yesterday I tried to schedule an eclipse related post *below* and messed up and put it before. So if you missed both posts yesterday - you can backtrack.

I will try to stop with my eclipse chatter - but will send you a link that illustrates that I am not alone in my enthusiasm for the eclipse. I found a site where people leave their own stories about experiencing an eclipse. I wasn't going to read all of them, but curiosity (as well as the need to drink coffee) led me to read all 19 and I was so glad I did. This is one that I thought was pretty charming.

Bill Kramer's story:
My first total solar eclipse was in 1972. I was lucky enough to be on board the TSS Olympia for the inaugural "Voyage To Darkness". Like many I had brought a lot of gear and had selected a perfect location to view early in the morning. Layers of other eclipse observers settled in behind us. One of which was a planetarium director with his wife and young daughter. He had seen the 1970 total solar eclipse and was quite entertaining in his description of what to expect and what was going on during totality. With his daughter perched on his lap he pointed out various details. She gasped as the diamond ring appeared and then said in a loud voice "Wow! Do that again Daddy!" Several of us turned our attention to him and exclaimed, ""Yes, do that again".

To read the other 18 stories:

A re-run. Reminds me of planets/stars/moons. 

May Pairing of Cuteness

The cuteness of sweet ladies wearing hats and whimsical lettering.

So pretty.

Tina above.

KateR below.

I (heart) cute.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

May Pairings - de la Renta

CathyO on top and Florence on the bottom were the two people who sent May exchange envelopes with Oscar stamps. I love those stamps. Resisting urge to buy more.

Great use of the big sticker that came with the stamps, Florence.

And Cathy included the flyer that came with the rubber stamp that she used for the yellow design. The lure of rubber stamping is strong - but my resolve to finish my sifting and purging is stronger.

Eric's Blog - My Mail Art World

This is a bonus post. Todays' regular post is right below. Oops. Above. I check my own blog every day, then I click on the top one in my list of blogs I look at, which is Finnbadger's. From there, I click on Eric's - and...I thought I had put Eric's on My Blog List a while back, but just noticed that it is not there. So, I corrected that promptly and recommend y'all check it daily. To view My Blog List, you need to be in *View Web Version* on your phone (I think). It is easy to find if you are on a regular computer rather than a phone.

Last year, as you may recall, Eric celebrated his 50th trip around the sun. This year he is celebrating envelopes made out of paper bags. It has been fun watching how cohesive his blog is by having a yearly theme.

Anyhow....speaking of trips around the sun is launching a whine about the fact that I do not know what I did with my eclipse stamps. I traveled to the path of totality in 1979 and consider it a highlight of my life. I will be out of town, to the north, during the 2017 eclipse, but I have been encouraging everyone I know in Des Moines to make the day trip down to Missouri to see it. I have also been checking towns that are within the path of totality and there are endless opportunities to surf and learn trivial this one:

Chillicothe, Mo is the home of sliced bread.
They are very proud of the fact. You can read more here:

Someone needs to put a lock on my computer so that I stop surfing and get my chores done.

There is a future post that talks about an actual conference for procrastination study that I discovered....yup. I could not make this stuff up.

Friday, July 28, 2017

May Exchangers Lynne and AmyG

These two paired because they have sparkle painted backgrounds. You two are brave to go for writing on top of sparkle stuff. Often times it is slippery and repels the ink or marker. Do not get me started on sparkle paper....

ok....I'm starting....

I had a ton of leftover sparkle envelopes from a job that was one of my all time worst horror-story jobs which I should tell some day....

but here was my first layer for the June exchange:

Dreadful... but you know me, I like to launch a good disaster to see if I can resolve it. Or in this case 6 disasters.

Stay tuned. I think I have resolved 4 or 5 of them.
Can anyone guess which one started as my least favorite? Or which one do you think will be the hardest one to resolve?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

May Exchange Pairing - Kathy and JeanR

From a design point of view, these two don't have a lot in common, but they go nicely because they are from two personal friends. While the two of them do not have a lot in common - if I were to re-configure myself, I think I would make myself into a combination of the two of them. They are both so modest, I won't make this a long post. Just mentioning their modesty as something I would adopt - as I am clearly a little too full of myself. But, it's not my fault. It's your fault. So many readers send me such nice emails and personal notes about how much they enjoy the blog. It goes to my head. I'm babbling. I'll stop.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Add and Pass from Grace

Grace took one of the envelopes that I sent in an exchange and did some skillful cutting, reused portions, creating this very fun piece of mail.

Love it. Love it. Love it.

And the back is just as much fun.
She charted the map from her house to mine and then put a stamp from each state that one would travel through to get to my house. Very very cool.

Here is the envelope she used:
Fraktur Birds

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Primo Grasshopper Alexis

This is from one of my very best grasshoppers, Alexis. I posted her fabulous wedding invitation. She sent this along with a very nice note telling me how she did it and also mentioned how much work it took. Yup. But it is so worth it.

Alexis posted it on IG and I was tempted to leave a comment, but couldn't come up with the right words. I still can't. It just makes me so happy when people are inspired to make such pretty mail - inspired by conversations.

I think she did the lettering with a G-Tec and carefully drew in all the thicks. It's a little different look from using nibs and ink - but very cool in its own right.

Alexis loves blue and white - as do I. Dreamy.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More Birthday Mail from Jeri + JeanR + KateR

AArrgghhh. No matter what I do, there are always envelopes that hide. Luckily, they reappear.

These went with the birthday series..

Top one from Jeri.
I like the way she jammed the letters together. Gonna steal that one of these days.

The other two are from JeanR and KateR.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

May Exchange Pairing - Eric and Tina

I put these two font based designs together. Eric, on top, commented that interweaving type is harder than it looks. You can say that again. Whether you do it digitally or by hand - it can be very tricky.

Tina, below, must have one of those die cut machines as all of the black letters are cut out spaces with black paper behind. The air mail border is a favorite mail art motif of mine that I always forget to use - so - I will tag this stealworthy.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wrapping Up the Week of Pink and Sparkles

Alex exclaimed, "I LIKE owls!" when she opened this one. It's oozing with cuteness. From Alyce.

And below we have... the rest of the stack - hopefully the cards are with the right envelopes. If I've mixed any of them up - lemmekno.

BIG THANKS to everyone who sent mail. The best part was my husband and my daughter being so impressed that complete strangers would take time to send mail to Alex. They were really touched. So, if anyone needs mail, lemmekno....I can't promise - but - I usually do manage to send things to people who need some mail or need something sent to a deserving person. Once in a while things get lost in the stacks....

A dancer from Terry
KateR, Alison, Carroll sent these.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pretty in Pink

These are both great ideas. JeanR's, on top is paste paper on the envelope and stealworthy idea on the inside. I have not tried to figure out if the letters spell something specific....but I love the effect.

Below, we have a stealworthy idea - and kudos to the post office for getting it to 420-44th. When it arrived the was completely buried under the confetti and streamers. And no bar code. I have no idea how it managed to go through.

It's from Smash-girl.  :-)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Rest of the Poppy Mail

The one on the right is from Maggie. I love the delicate little flowers on the Alexandra card. I think they are made with brush markers. Nice new ones that make very crisp petals.

This is from Rachael. Nice borders and flourishing.

Top one from Nancy D and bottom one from Kathie McC.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

From AmyB - prior to mailing

Amy sent me this photo of her envelope before it went in the mail.

To see it when it arrived:
Amy's envelope

Jean's Favorite of the Poppy Mail

I loved this one because the card was made by another 3 year old.

I am not sure I have the card with the right envelope. Alex is not as compulsive as I am with keeping cards and envelopes together. Plus, the flap of the envelope is lost.

Also, the postmark doesn't match up with who I think sent the card - so this is a bit of a mystery. If the person (or the two people) who sent these want(s) to clear things up - please leave comments or email me.

The butterfly stamps are so pretty....

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hot Pink Sparkles + Poppy

In addition to hot pink and hot pink sparkles, Alex loves the character Poppy from the movie, Trolls, which was her first movie seen at a theater. I mentioned Poppy when I invited exchangers to send mail to Alex and several people included Poppy. This particular card and envelope was her absolute favorite. Alex hugged the card. She also asked if Poppy could come with us when we went in the car. She even asked if it was going to rain because she did not want Poppy to get wet. A simple answer was not enough. When I told her it was not going to rain, she said, "Do you PROMISE?"

I don't think Alex appreciated how pretty the stamp is. This is from Shandra and it was her very first time participating in the exchange. Way to go, Shandra.

I mailed my July exchange envelopes last week. If you are in the US and have not received an envelope from me, please let me know. I left the entire bag of envelopes for my carrier to pick up and that always makes me a little nervous.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hot Pink with Hot Pink Sparkles

 As the regular readers may recall, in April, my granddaughter was coming to visit, so I put her name on the exchange list and invited people to send something to Alex - mentioning that she was very fond of hot pink and hot pink sparkles. This week will be chock full of wonderful mail that delighted the 3 year old as well as the grown ups who watched her open her mail.

Top one by Ruth and bottom one by Chuck.

Ski report....Squaw Valley will be open Saturdays until further notice - and I am writing this on July 16th of 2017. They still have plenty of snow on the upper runs. Poor little Alex cannot fathom why her Nanna does not even own a swim suit.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Glittery Pink for Alex

For the April exchange, I had people send mail to my granddaughter and requested hot pink and hot pink sparkles...
Lynne's flowers and lettering are done with sparkle ink or paint - although that might not show up in the photo. Cathy's envelope is made out of sparkle paper - again - the photo probably will not do it justice.