Friday, August 28, 2015

This Limner Expresses Her Regret

However, she does so with restraint, since the fault of the matter lies at her feet. Disappointment often comes disguised as someone else's fault. She knows this now, and she freely admits to having made a mistake in one of her "oh, what the heck" moments. This one came about after she quickly chose to purchase something she didn't need, over adding it to the site's Wish List. Why take a chance when the morrow is promised to no one. Yes, she knows that sounds about as lame as an old boyfriend's "if it feels good do it" attempt at persuasion. But, sometimes, any excuse will do. So, she ordered the thing she did-not-need-but-wanted. And she has regrets.


This last alphabet postcard from Flow was earmarked for a journal page. It was meant to be a keeper/souvenir. I parted with it instead. It's interesting how the colors match my new/oldish reading glasses. No matter. I let it go with a peaceful heart.

Three of my new blues grace a single envelope. I panicked and ordered more! May I never run out unless I deliberately choose not to restock. 

I am a fan of letterpress. Theses have been hoarded for too long, so another was set free in today's mail run. I'd collected a small jar full of jasmine flowers, claimed the lost feather, and the washi tape seemed to be the perfect part of a trio. Snap went the shutter! Apple did the letterpress and printing. 

The paper's texture is unlike any other. I often paused too long with nib on page, and the message I penned is dotted with little blue soaks. I didn't mind it at all. The little bee on the envelope was a strong selling point, not that the design needed it. 


I did not find these growing or drying in my studio. I left them there to keep the cats from destroying any moveable parts. These two are the sole survivors of this year's non-gardening attempt. They also happen to be the tiniest gourds I've ever grown. Surely you can imagine the possibilities that might be in store. If, and this is a big if, but if I remove the cap, and snug a letter inside, there's a sealing wax that will take care of any privacy issues. Oh, the things one can learn on the Internet! I see a mama doll and a baby doll . . . And some other good gourd possibilities hovering just above my head.

Seven letters and one postcard went out today! Oh, yay! Eight pieces of mail came in for me! What an even exchange, excluding one piece of junk and a credit card bill. I gotta tell you. My appetite often needs work 'cause it's often MIA, but after I sat in the post office parking lot and read two letters, I drove clean across Katy to my favorite pizza parlor, and  ordered a spinach pizza! I was just that hungry. Three letters from Catherine! Wow. Was she on a roll. Thank you, Catherine and Randall (two from you!)! A three-pager from Lynda, and two in reserve . . . Who could ask for anything more? More came anyway! I must wait to tell you about the manila envelope. Really, I must. The lighting has to be just right and I have to drool over it a little longer, but I showed it to the pizza lady! She was almost as excited as I was, and give me unsolicited suggestions . . . Enough! I almost let it slip. My lip zip is fully engaged. Thank you, Mrs. Duffy. Now, that's all I'm saying.

Heck, I'm so excited I almost forgot to feel regret. But seeing as how I'm a woman of my word most of half the time . . . here goes.

A package was delivered today.

Now you know what to expect, right?

All the little internal bits were in place.

And there was this. The other molded space was empty. Annoying.

Why doesn't it look like brass here???

It looks like stainless steel, doesn't it?

It feels like brass. Smells like it too.

And I don't even like brass. I taste brass when I touch it. I used to shine Daddy's military brass. I took such pride in making everything shine. My sister pretended not to know how, and always made a mess of it. Was I born slow? I know I was born after her, but still. She wore out that excuse growing up, and it wasn't until she drove me to therapy that I realized--on my own--her ruse worked just as she'd intended. She Tom Sawyered me! I hate Brasso to this very day. 

No, my regret isn't all about the brass, it's about the size of the thing. It is 3 3/4" with the cap on. Uncapped with cap screwed on it's a whopping 5"! Yes! Size matters. Even if you're out in the field. And who uses a fountain pen in the field? That's what pencils and ball points are for!  Does anyone know how to get rid of the brassy taste? Ugh. I refuse to shine it. Ever. There will be no Brasso in this house, just as there were no plastic coat hangers in Joan Crawford's. Or were they wire? I so dislike wire hangers. They leave nipples in your clothes. I know! I can wear photographer's cotton gloves when I use my new pen. See? Two heads are better than one. I've expressed my regrets. Is time to move on.

This is me moving on . . . 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cleaning Can Be Fun

The magic of mail will surprise you. I sent a sheet of metal in a box across the pond. It turned into this. I cannot buy personal planes for all the young men I know but I might send my dragonfly. I haven't even taken it out of the box. Intimidation does that, but sometimes I bluff myself with, "If a nine year old can do it, so can you!" It hasn't worked yet, so we will see." Thank you, James. You did an amazing job. Thanks for making me think I can. P.S.  Tell your mom I do like that fabric. 

This belongs with that. In my mind they match. I don't think I'm ready to share this cool envelope from JarieLyn just yet, but since I feel a little pressure to share it, I have. I reserve the right to return to it in a future post. An explanation will follow then, but not the Scotch tape in the lower left. You cannot see it in this photo but there are thin ribbons beneath the tape. They survived! Thanks, J.

This is a blast from the past. I never archived this letter from Shannah. I pray that I answered because I like this envelope a lot. That "Limner" is underscored with such flair, isn't it? Thank you. Very much.

I first saw this beauty on a blog about postcards. I thought it was beautiful then, and it is even more beautiful up close. I am partial to sepia photos and monos, yet the blue awnings add something totally special to the scene. And the patch of light hanging out just past the calligraphy? Totally ethereal, isn't it? This one deserves a mat-frame-hang.

I like this postcard! So I was upset that it was damaged by The Mangler. Randall, thank you. It came soon after I posted about space. You totally blindsided me with this one too. I'm a graphic designer who appreciates such dynamic graphics. Of course this scene reminded me of . . . I see the cover yet the title escapes me. It also reminds me to finish "The Martian." My imagination soars every time I look at this. I'm not sure I'd live in a moon colony if I could though. I need growing stuff, and color. Do no appreciate ducking things that make craters either. I would not be averse to a lunar vacation. Maybe. Where do you find all these good things, R? 

Ta-da! She remembered! Thank you, dear Patty. Here are the Apollo stamps! I often wonder what it might be like to float through space, although I dislike tight spaces. Put me in a closed MRI and I start to lose it. Even with my eyes closed. How I'd make it in a space capsule is beyond my ken, which means s going via my imagination is the only way to go. Oh! There's the Star Trek way! Wouldn't that be cool? If it worked? 

I left drawer-cleaning for a day of work in my studio. I put in over five hours today. I didn't punch my time clock last night, so I've no idea how long I was in there, but I went back. Good things came from both visits. I'm finding all kinds of good stuff I'd forgotten I have. Like this stationery. Does anyone out there recognize it? These cards and envelopes are several years old. I buy, I put away, I forget, I find, and scratch my head, sometimes in wonder. These are so big. "How big?" you ask. Wait and see. 

Talk about a blast! I loved my lime green top. It was a V neck! My favorite type of tee. My Mail Muse is no longer pink. 

Alex might have been three when I drew this. It's easy to see where I ran into trouble. Imagining a bird riding a dinosaur is a lot easier than drawing it. He and I used to draw pictures and stick them between the fence slats, until he was old enough to come next door on his own. 

Limner 'toons weren't just for kids. This went out to Dodson, D., back when he was sick. Or was it after surgery? Sometimes I forget.

JC asked me why I have children's toys. He had to ask? Dinosaurs roam freely about the kitchen and meander upstairs on occasion. No, they don't drink from the toilet! Dino have class. They sip from a glass. 

The M&Ms guy has been around since the 90s. My little mama gave me the pig incense holder. I had to pinch myself! 

Redundancy pays. 

The blue stamp is just as cool, I promise! And, speaking of space . . . The blues are perfect matches. I used white wax for the seal again. Had Morpheus presented me with a red envelope and a blue envelope, and had I been Neo, the story would have been a whole other story. I'd still be trippin' since I'd have taken both.

Here's my five-or-six letter stack. Hopefully it goes out with tomorrow's mail. 

Along with pickle mail. 

Blue on white is cool too. So are my planets and moon.

This goes way way back. I used Rhodia in this galaxy, long long ago!

Christmas indignities indeed! A ball point pen that skipped, is what it was. Each sheet of my Rhodia mouse pad was precious, so no way did I want to waste it.

Did you ever have a Clic Bloc? I still have most of mine. This habit of saving the good stuff until I forget it isn't good. Sometimes the good goes bad, then it's waste. The Clic Bloc has only aged to perfection though. Every page and the back still love a pencil and ink. Cleaning drawers and studios is like opening time capsules. Perhaps I should do it more often. I'm putting together at least one grab box for some poor unsuspecting soul. This is the only warning.

Nothing is outdated.  Flashbacks are free fun. 


One more time . . .


Finally! I wanted to share an article I've been saving about the National Postal Museum, but of course I've misplaced it. Thank you, Angela! I still dream of visiting the museum, and I've added a trip to the 2016 World Stamp Show to my Bucket Wish List. Yes, I'm willing to take a nibble out of the Big Apple, all because of those stamps. But, if I had to choose? I'd do both! 

. . . there's more to come.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Red Letter Day

Finally! My Red Letter Day is here. I forget where I put all the information I spent time gathering on the subject. Clever file names don't help if you forget them, so I've stopped searching. For now. But no way did I want to miss this opportunity to show you how great red is for mail. There's a book and a movie about the color purple, so why not a post about red? I used red ink to write my four-page message. It's all so cool-and-red-and-red-ical. Here is a quote I borrowed from Wikipedia on the origins of red-letter day, which is different from my Red Letter Day. 

"In Medieval manuscripts, initial capitals and highlighted words (known as rubrics) were written in red ink." What about the red days on calendars? you wonder. Remember? Holidays are red for sure. We used to write our birthdays on our family calendar the day the new calendar came home. Someone wrote them with indelible red pencils. Remember those? Red on one end--blue on the other? Did you lick it to make the red "lead" darker? Those pencils were my first paints. I had red, blue and pencil gray. Mama always knew who got to the new calendar first. Red lips and tongues were dead giveaways. She eventually broke us of the habit when she warned us the red and blue "leads" were poisonous. Ha! She may have broken us from putting the points in our mouths, but ur cousin Charles showed us how to spit in our palm, and twirl the pencil tip until we got a juicy dark red. I could use an entire pencil in a weekend. Children should be inventors before they outgrow their original thinking. 

No, this is not all there is to my Red Letter Day. A month of red letters is on my events horizon. See you in the red, someday.

Not to be outdone, I went blue-sky on my second letter. Ink wise. Wishing I'd gone with walnut ink and suitable embellishments, but Ingrid is beautiful no matter what she's on. I watched "Gaslight" until her weak woman acting finally made me scoff. I always saw her as a strong, clever, and vulnerable actress, but vulnerable in a strong sense. Anyway, I got over the handwringing desperation that once tugged my heart strings. It happened this summer. The light loved her face! We all loved Ingrid Bergman, so how dare that bad movie-husband of hers mistreat the diamond he married. 

Flow Magazine did a story on this amazing woman, and they were not kind to Americans in the telling. Her countrymen/women accused Americans of trying to "destroy" her because some accused her of having loose morals. Remember the scandal? Well, times have changed, right? And Ingrid still reigns as an icon. She's on my letter.

I like her so much I gave her two wax seals and a stamp! And I used the expensive embellishments! By expensive, I mean store-bought. Hehehe! I still have 12 x 12 stacks of adhesive backed goodies from before Archiver's took most of my pen money. 

Add another Foot Note to my repertoire, and I will have written three letters in two days. I missed the mailman this afternoon. I chose not to run in the rain to get them in the box on time. I did the envelope while "Jeepers Creepers" was on, hence the foot, although the movie was not about feet. In the end it was all about Derry's eyes, wasn't it? 

Decisions, decisions, decisions . . . It's also dinner time.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Postal Debutants

They're home! OMG. Just a little drool spilled on the envelope before I got it opened. I knew what was in the mail box the moment I saw the large envelope. I thought to myself, "Well, it's about time!" 

Aren't they lovely? Absolutely l-o-v-e-l-y perfect! I have a letter ready but cannot bring myself to break up the dreams. It's not like I don't have other stamps, but I want to be the first to set them free to a friend or three. 

I finally figured out why the World Stamp is my favorite. I got a warm feeling every time I saw them. Well, last night I figured it out. Were you around when S&H Green Stamps drove adults to distraction? If a store clerk forgot to give up the earned stamps you can believe the customer asked, "Where are my stamps???" I know my little mama kept a book in the glove compartment and several at home. No way was she going to risk losing her green stamps by not getting them on a page asap. And watching her, my grand, my aunts, and church women counting the coveted full books, or poring over the catalogs to dream of redemption, made me imagine I couldn't wait until I could buy stuff,  collect S&H Green Stamps, and get free stuff too. 

Mama got a lot more stamps than her siblings and Grandmother because she had a car. She got stamps with every gas purchase! She was generous with her windfalls to a fault though.  When it was time for us to pack up and move to Oklahoma, she gave Grandmother her books and loose stamps. No one saved S&H Green Stamps in Lawton. 

Another thing I liked about the Green Stamp craze was being able to listen to the radio all day. The local station, made random calls for S&H Green Stamps give-aways. It went something like this: 

Ring. Ring.


Wait! You had to follow the script so they could make a fool out of you if you weren't on your toes. I you weren't, you stood to lose and everyone within the sound of the DJ's voice heard you being dumb on top of losing hundreds of stamps. You could not say "Hello?" If there was silence on the other end, you knew not to ask, "Who is this?" You had to say, "Hello." The DJ knew his part by heart and always said, "Hello? Is this Mrs. Smith?" Mrs. Smith had to say, "This is Mrs. Smith. I collect S&H Green Stamps! And S&H Green Stamps are free!" The DJ congratulated the lucky housewife, told her how many stamps she'd won, and you can guess the rest. The best parts--even better than being able to listen to the radio all day, although it was all country and western music, local news, the cattle report and church bulletins--were the pranks. 

Who would pass up an opportunity to get someone's goat? Grown women called at just the right time to get a friend or relative to take the bait, and once in awhile you got to know who was a true Christian, since a true Christian did not say a bad word when she realized it was a hoax. Pity the kid who called to ask, "Is your refrigerator running?" risking a missed opportunity because the DJ could call while the line was tied up! Remember the days of party lines? Someone was always listening, like a community big brother, and they'd tell on the dummy before the sun set.

See how nostalgia can feel like time travel? The World Stamp took me all the way back to my hometown in a blink. I saw all those licked stamps lined up like photos in a century of year books. I thought of all the saliva those housewives used on stamps instead of wetting a handkerchief on Sunday, seeing as how their saliva glands were just too worn out to work on the Sabbath. Thank you S&H Green Stamps for all the times I got the dry hanky when I woke after the sermon, with drool on my cheek. 

And there's this. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Do you remember when there was a box for local mail and one for out-of-town mail? This gem is from . . . Well, wait and see, but without my glasses this perplexed little woman reminds me of a young Elizabeth. 

I hope you had a great mail Monday. I did. I mailed some mail, and was mailed in return. Hope you were too. 

Wishing you a toothsome Tuesday!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hold Your Horses!

Wishes are granted about as often as dreams come true. Sometimes they come before you even know they already have. I pined for this very stamp in a recent post ((a-little-herstory), not realizing I had it. I discovered it last night in the middle of cleaning another drawer. 

I spent several days searching for these, and  matching postcards. I should have bought them when I saw them! Guess where I found this one. I know, my guessing games are too easy. This, and the Overland stamp were safely tucked inside a tiny glassine envelope--in the same drawer. 

I have never visited the Alamo. I live within walking distance of longhorns though. I choose to drive when I want to visit, seeing as how there's no need to walk that far. If I had a cow I wouldn't eat it. I might milk it though, but then I'd be competing with her calf, so it's best that I don't have a cow. Besides, if I did, I'd need a bull, too, since I'm not into bovine IVF. I like the old fashion feel of this design. The only thing missing is a field of bluebonnets. Do you know some drunk tourist urinated on a portion of the Alamo's wall not so long ago, and boy did he step in it. What a thing to remember about a Texas landmark, but there you have it. Seems limestone and alcohol-laced urine do not play friendly, but the incident will make the tour guide's Alamo fact-sharing more interesting for tourists.

Jane Austen's "Emma," starring Gwyneth Paltrow is on in the background. Do you ever listen to dialogue without watching the images? The images, coupled with sound tend to paint a different story. Dialogue alone is a whole other trip. No matter. Ms Paltrow isn't very good. I'd hoped I could tolerate the movie long enough to catch a letter-writing scene to inspire me. "Ray Donovan" is far more interesting, being a repeat or not, although no one writes letters in "Ray Donovan." This entire weekend passed without me penning a single letter. I hope yours was a good letter reading-writing-mailing one. 

I've been wrestling with the moody blues the last few days, so I made it a point to get out and rub elbows with strangers the last few days. I bought three of Thomas Paine's books. In a nod to old Thom, I'm working on what will become a post or a journal with the title, "These Are the Times that Try a Woman's Soul." Mine is being sorely tried lately. Paine's words still resonate in today's political and personal climates, and he engages me completely. Common Sense is still filled with common sense that makes sense, but Thomas did not write any letters that I can share here. Phonelady did. Write a letter I mean. And she did a sweet thing--something that totally caught me off guard. She sent a sympathetic card that bears a this-too-shall-pass message, and she sent a card to my mother. I tried to play it off my saying I'd give it to my mom the next time I saw her. Telling you the truth of it still makes my throat try to cut off the emotional spigot that requires priming for tears. Crying is not required. My poor little mama is slowly forgetting herself. And things, and places and people. It's a natural progression in aging, but I don't know where she is. But, I have to believe that my sister loves our little mama enough to take good care of her. Thank you, Phonelady. Your act of kindness made such a difference that day. It helped me let go of a struggle that was sapping my peace of mind, my joy, my life, and widening a sink hole of depression that began as simple sadness. When life is dark, and your heart is heavy . . . there is no antidote. Living through pain goes hand in hand with joy. Both come into our lives to pass. One is hard. It's hard even if we don't fold. Sometimes all we can do is hold on. I'm holding.

Today I stuck this magnet to the side of the blue set of drawers I'm cleaning out-tying- organizing. I put it there twelve minutes ago. Yes, I bought it for a penfriend. Turns out I need it instead. Again. "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try," said John F. Kennedy. Sometimes, we don't even know we're making a difference. We simply act, with no thought of consequences. We seldom know when someone else is going through a difficult time behind the screen. 

My mom has been "missing" for awhile now. I could not bring myself to mention it here before, but it affects me at my core no matter how hard I try to keep calm and carry on. Mail blogs are meant to take us away from the daily grind of real life, right? If you read this, and not mention the mystery of my mom to me at all, I will feel less burdened. Why? I will feel less burdened, because a burdened shared is a lessened burden; therefore mine will have been diminished more times than I will know if you don't say anything. So, please. Shhh. I know you did not know. But, shhh. And, I promise to write, and do show-and-tells when I can. Until then, be well. 

Sincerely sincere,


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Clean Drawers

Clean drawers:  √

That's the hardest thing I've done all day. I've cleaned one drawer. More things came out than went back in. Now my desk is cluttered with little things that need to set up home in another drawer. But that's a job for tomorrow. 

Okay, I take back the first statement. The hardest thing I did was buying another dip pen set. It was hard because it wasn't in my budget. I'd never before seen the brand, I had another 40% off coupon . . . I put it back twice. I grit my teeth and went for it before store security decided to mess with me. I'm glad I bought it. A trial practice session proves it. 

My initial plan was to take this beauty and her sister to Aaron Bros. for a mat and frame. Randall gave them to me. Thank you again, Randall. They must wait their turn though. I have to justify bringing all the new paper and stuff into a life that needs some serious downsizing. 

Squinting did not change a thing. 

A view from another angle did not help either.

A close-up only shed light on some of what should . . . Out of sight, out of mind does not work here. I've had the daisy for so long I forget when I plucked it. It's beautiful.

The gold coin? The acorn, the beads, the giant's molar, the turtle, seed pod, toe ring . . . Treasure! Pure treasure!

I cannot explain the empty cartridges. Perhaps I can. The ink might have evaporated. Who knew seed pods would shed their skins in such an annoying fashion? I missed getting stuck on the tacks. Yea, me. The little seal now resides in a box with the others.

This was at the back of the drawer, away from exposure to harm. I'm inspired every time I look at it. The hand is reminiscent of what I call old world handwriting. I should say, "European." No? It reminds me of days when penmanship mattered more. It seems to fit the old fashion label, doesn't it? 

At the back of the drawer, next to the little glassine bag, and atop a small orange Moleskine journal lay this. I've looked high and low for these. The live in the first drawer of the white Bisley. It's the drawer I open most often. The second drawer holds good stuff too. Only eight more drawers to go. Check off one at a time, but not necessarily cleaned in consecutive days. Making this mess took time. It takes time to clean it up. My rewards for doing good work are major pay-offs. Okay. Tidy working space, organized necessaries and guilt-free days are major pay-offs. It's still hard to believe all the stuff that needed a clean-up in one drawer. But I figure I'll write better in the long run after clean-up is done.

Here's a fun tip:  Always check the bridal sections for pretties such as fancy labels, sealing wax, nice white envelopes, note cards, and even monogrammed stickers. 

The manufacturer, in this case Gartner Studios, recommends using 3 or 4 layers of wax. I used a single application here for my test. Four sticks come to a box. The wax is supple, not brittle, like most inexpensive brands. You're supposed to get 10-15 seals per stick. My seal is large, so you might get more or less.

A clean, restocked wax and seals tin, ready to go back. It's one of the first things to be restored to the first cleaned drawer. 

When you free up space by tossing packaging, don't forget to remove important instructions and tape--in this instance--inside the lid. 

No mail went out today, but I have clean drawers! Oh. And three bags of trash. I found five tweezers, three boxes of matches, five Scotch tape dispensers--two with actual  Scotch tape, my missing Pelican Italic pen, and some other good stuff necessary to letter-writing. 

Was yours a productive Saturday too?

And, yes! I found something I wished really hard for. Wait and see what it is. I'm such a happy writer.