mail art

by rae on April 10, 2015


What is mail art you ask. Well Wikipedia says… Mail art (also known as Postal art and Correspondence art) is a populist artistic movement centered on sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present. The American artist Ray Johnson is considered to be the first mail artist, and the New York Correspondence School that he developed is considered the first self-conscious network of mail artists.


Crystal Kluge’s calligraphy class I took in January had people wishing they got nice things in the mail. That developed into 9 of us starting  a Mail Art group.


In February I had Susan and it was Valentine’s Day. So I made a little hand sewn paper Valentine. I put it in a nice little box and added some office supplies. My personal goal for the Mail Art is to make it all out of things I have in my office or my gift drawer.

IMG_3967 IMG_3966

And the idea is also to send it in an interesting envelope. I think that most people will showcase their calligraphy skills. Since I don’t have any I am just doing my own thing and creating something interesting. It is art after all, there should no be rules.


March’s Mail Art went to A. Yes that is the name she uses. Since I did not receive anything in February or March from my group I decided to be less elaborate that month. So I did an “A is for….” piece of lettering.

While it would be nice to receive something from someone I do enjoy thinking about my April Mail Art. It is a good creative exercise.

An interesting aside is that my friend’s 80-something Mom has every single thing I have ever written to her over the years. Every single thing. She now has bulletin boards and has them all up. She moved from her big house to living with my friend and that is what she brought with her. I now write to her weekly. Generally it is a postcard, nicely lettered. Or I share with her whatever font I am working on and pictures of the grand kids. Real mail does change lives. It is an connection like no other.

Do any of you do Mail Art? Or make and send your own postcards? Or send interesting mail to the elderly or sick? If so, plz share.


new font, dickybird doodles!

by rae on March 24, 2015







This illustration font has 32 dickybirds. Birds in a cage, on a wire, in a nest. A flamingo, toucan, sandpiper, cardinal, penguin, heron, chicken & rooster, hummingbird, swan. Some line, some reverse and one with polka dots.

For a very limited time this new font is $21. This price is only available on this site.

Sign up for the newsletter. Next month may include another giveaway, a BOGO and a few other things.



by rae on March 23, 2015


As predicted, we woke up to snow. Snow always makes me think soup. Yesterday anticipating the snow I make a pot of Spicy Tuscan Soup. A hearty, Winter snow day kind of soup.


photo 2

This is a new recipe for me. Decided to try one of the many, many recipes I have pinned on Pinterest.

This soup is much like one of the soups at Olive Garden. And perfect for a snowy Winter day. I did add more kale because I like kale.



what are you reading?

by rae on February 23, 2015

I like to read real books. I like to see the typeface used, the type of paper, if they do any special illustrations for each chapter. But I was on vacation a couple weeks ago and decided to load my iPad with books. This was my first one.



At first glance Harold Fry is a sad, lonely English milquetoast, the human equivalent of a potted geranium. “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,” Rachel Joyce’s first novel, contrives a way to shake him out of his monotonous life and send him on a voyage of self-discovery. Harold will learn that there is more to life than mowing one’s lawn. Readers will learn that one man’s quiet timidity should not be taken at face value. Potted geraniums have feelings too.

Ms. Joyce’s novel, a sentimental nominee for this year’s Man Booker Prize, has a premise that is simple and twee. One day Harold receives a letter from an old acquaintance, Queenie Hennessy. Queenie is dying at a hospice that is 627 miles north of Harold’s home near the English Channel. When Harold reads the letter, he responds with a tearful “I um. Gosh.” Then he writes her a postcard and walks down his road to mail it. Then he keeps on going. – The New York Times

I did enjoy this book. But then I got to read most of it in sunny Oak Creek, AZ in the back yard of a nice house with the sun warming me.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.06.31 PM

The clock is always ticking in Andrew Sean Greer’s “Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.” Elegiac in tone, this tale of time travel, loss and compromise is as precisely engineered as a Swiss watch. The premise is deceptively simple. It is 1985, and Greta Wells, a photographer living in Greenwich Village, has just suffered two devastating losses: Her twin brother, Felix, has died of AIDS and her lover, Nathan, has left her for another woman. Thrown into a deep depression, she consults a psychiatrist, who in turn sends her to Dr. Cerletti, an advocate of electroconvulsive therapy. “Will it change me?” Greta asks, before her first session. “Not at all, Miss Wells,” he replies. “What has changed you is your depression. What we’re trying to do is bring you back.”

Instead the treatment takes Greta away. The next day she wakes up in her own room — but not in her own time. “Instead of my white walls, I saw pale lilac wallpaper patterned in ball and thistle. Gold-framed paintings placed along it, and sooty gaslight back plates.” Not only that, she’s a different Greta. “I marveled at the long red hair falling in waves over the delicate yellow nightgown I had never owned before, trimmed with little useless ribbons. I touched my face and wondered: What trick was this? How could this be me?”-New York Times

OK, maybe I choose these two book in part because of their interesting titles. Both were good vacation reads.

Almost done reading this nice, heavy coffee table book on 100 years of Hallmark. I always wanted to work at Hallmark. Now that I am reading this book I really wish I had a chance to work there. This book is borrowed and I need to finish it and return it.

I have a big stack of books that I have been given or have somehow have just appeared. I did receive the 3 volume set of The 50 Shades of Grey. I think I’ll read 100 pages just to see what all the hoop-la is all about.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.30.07 PM


Another gift and it is the next book I am going to read…

The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little–known documents-including a long–lost account written by the ship’s cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing read, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.-Nathaniel Philbrick

This appears to be a rather eclectic list, but then I think my reading always is.

So what are you reading?


sun & sedona

by rae on February 17, 2015



Just back from a warm, sunny week in Sedona and Oak Creek, AZ.

To all of you who told us that there was not enough to do there all week you were both right and wrong. Yes, if we had stayed 6 days in Sedona and shopped that would be far too many days. In my opinion most of the shops had that old time Wisconsin Dells feel to them.






But we stayed in Oak Creek 10-15 miles outside of Sedona very close to Bell Rock (3rd photo). Our week included sun, blue skies and a lot of 70 degree weather. All most appreciated as we left a gray, cold, sunless Wisconsin.

Our trip did include a little shopping in Sedona, general exploring, grilling out, John golfing, I bought cool shoes at the golf resort and a day trip to quaint Jerome, AZ.

We also sat in the hot tub at night when it was in the 30s. Had a ‘duff day’. Each person got to do whatever they wanted. For me, the introvert, it was spent sitting in the sun with my book in the back yard of the extremely comfortable home we had for the week.

Last day was spent in the Red Rocks. We hiked part of the way up Bell Rock. I meditated and chatted with my Dad who had passed away 6 years to the day. The rest of the group hiked a little further up.

So to those who thought we could not keep busy for a week, well we could have had another week to get it all done. Would have liked to visit Antelope Canyon, seen the sunset at the Airport Overlook and done yoga at a vortex.





I was extremely taken with the luminous light and the textures of everything. And the Red Rocks. My burning question is still why they are called RED rocks. It all looked far more orange to me. Or burnt orange. Sometimes sienna or burnt sienna. Thoughts as to why they are called red vs. orange, anyone?



penmanship, calligraphy & lettering

by rae on January 30, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.06.16 PM













This weekend I had serious fun attending Crystal Kluge’s modern penmanship class in St. Paul. You can see her fonts here. I also enjoyed the rare chance to talk shop with another type designer!














This is Crystal’s lettering. Oh how I love those flourishes.


photo 2

















And here are my hen scratchings. But in my defense I didn’t take the class to be a bad version of Crystal but a better version of myself.

I learned a lot. Very beginning things like how to hold the pen and not to go so fast. I was easily the worst in class. Everyone else put their nib in their holder and started doing beautiful calligraphy. But then it was a talented bunch.


photo 3





I got to do a lot of thinking in class and ponder a possible 4 new alphabet fonts. I would really like to make a font that looks like my new logo. I used a folded nib to get the above lettering.

A really great class for both beginners and professionals alike. And as you can see from the first photo she has another class coming up in March. If you are in the area I think you would enjoy it.


photo 5 photo 4Since this was a lettering kind of weekend my friend Laurie, who I look the class with, gave me this oh-so beautiful real sable brush pen for my birthday. So now I have another tool that I don’t know how to use. But it makes me happy just to hold it. This is a Kuretake Japanese pen.

(Thanks again Laurie! For the fun, drinks and the PEN!)


embroidery patterns are here!

by rae on January 19, 2015



Yes, the embroidery patterns I have been talking about are now done and for sale! Of course my favorite one is the alphabet sampler.
If you think this is a bit complicated head on over to Stitch Supply Co. to get your pattern and get in on the Stitch-Along. That is were the uber stitcher Ann Sandler shows you what you need to know.



The designs are mine, often based on the illustrations I did for my doodle fonts. But the idea and end product are Ann’s. You can find her at or on Instagram: StitchSupplyCo #stitchsupplyco.


I am thinking ahead to my next pattern. Which would you like to see?

1. a set of monogram alphabets in 2 sizes with borders

2. a map of Paris

3. days of the week dishtowels

Leave a comment!


{ 1 comment }

a foggy sunday morning…

by rae on December 15, 2014



we have had days of warm weather (in the 40s) and fog. So we headed out Sunday morning to take a few pictures.

IMG_2124 IMG_2096







{ Comments on this entry are closed }

photo 2


and it is sort of a contemporary one…







{ Comments on this entry are closed }

trains, type and textures

by rae on October 15, 2014






sunday we spent the day at the Illinois Railway Museum outside of Union, IL. It is between Madison and Chicago. It was a perfect Fall day and I was there with 3 generations of Ganahl men. Jackson who is 3 is train-crazy. We even got to take a 40 minute ride on an electric, passenger train. Alex who is 1 appeared to like it too, he gave Grandma a fist bump.

IMG_3482  IMG_3545


Lots of cool signage and typography. There was something for everyone which makes this such a great place. We were there for 4 hours and walked over 3 miles and did not see everything.




Who knew? I didn’t. Lots and lots of interesting signs that we wanted to read. Maybe next time.


IMG_3487 IMG_3493 IMG_3495 IMG_3539
As the guys were climbing on trains I slipped away to take photos of rusty stuff. As I said, something for everyone.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say: The museum was founded in 1953 by ten individuals (one of the founders was Howard Odinius from Milwaukee) who joined together to purchase Indiana Railroad interurban car 65.

Originally called the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, the name was changed to IRM in 1961 to reflect the museum’s expanding scope. The museum was initially located on the grounds of the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago, Illinois. In 1964 the museum’s entire collection was relocated to Union along the former right-of-way of the Elgin & Belvidere interurban. Two years later, operations were begun using Illinois Terminal interurban car 415, and in 1967 the first steam engine was operated. The first storage barn was erected in 1971. In 1981 a one-mile (1.6 km) streetcar loop was constructed. A 4.9-mile (7.9 km) railroad line was built during the 1980s and early 1990s.

The museum’s operations are primarily concentrated around its main campus just east of Union, Illinois. Train rides are offered on the main line as well as the streetcar loop. Electric trains are operated from April through October, and diesel and steam trains from the beginning of May through the end of September. Trolley bus operations occur the first Saturdays of June, July, September and October. IRM is one of only two railway museums in the country that operates both electric and diesel trains. It is the only museum that offers trolley bus rides.

It was pretty much a perfect day. And we were amazed that so few people were there, probably because it is late in the year. I can recommend this outing. In fact I could go back several more times. Next time I’ll take a real camera.


{ Comments on this entry are closed }