Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brownies - The Palmer Cox Variety

The day before yesterday I received a piece of what I took to be mail art. It had a little Brownie stamp on the front, made from a 13 Cent USPS stamp with the image replaced by one depicting two Brownies. That was more than enough to pique my curiosity, since I didn't recognize the name on the return address. Actually, it looked like the envelope had been made to fit a stiffener, so I carefully opened it to discover two pages from old children's books, both with wonderful illustrations by Palmer Cox, who originally created the Brownies in the 1880's. Both of the illustrations were by Palmer, and one of them was an illustrated one-page story. Both of them were Christmas related, one of them with Kriss Kringle taking top billing, but the Brownies weren't far behind.

I was stunned. That appeared to be all that was in the envelope until I had a friend stop by for coffee and scones. Homemade. Not what I'd call a Breakfast Brownie, but I like blueberries, and I make a mean scone.

After we'd sipped for a bit, he asked me what I was working on. I told him I was working on developing a Brownie envelope to use for mail art for my siblings. You know, the kind that are hard to gift. I showed him the pages that I'd received in the mail, and the envelope they came in. To me, it was like an early Christmas present from someone I'd never met. It is truly amazing where the path leads when you're generous and appreciative of other artists interests.

The reason I was so struck by the whole package was it was totally unexpected, coming just at the right moment as I tried to develop an envelope I could use for Brownie mail art. I really haven't let the cat out of the bag with this one because I intend to do something special with the Brownies for my siblings, but this really meant a great deal to me.

My friend picked up the envelope and examined both sides, and then looked in the envelope. He proceeded to shake a card out of it that I was unaware was still in the envelope. I read the wonderful note she's included, and suddenly it all came together. The pages that Beth Bynum gave to me meant a lot, but the fact she's a Nick Bantock fan as well sort of put the icing on the Brownies. Did I mention she has a blog? The fact that she'd taken a collage class from Lenna Young Andrews put another piece in the puzzle, as Lenna is a Brownie fan as well. Beth discovered I was a Brownie fan through Lenna, but what she didn't realize was that I like my Brownies for Breakfast.

The Breakfast Brownie Cereal is the real deal. Thank You, Beth. A wonderful Breakfast Treat!


  1. oh dave! This is a GOOD story all around ; ^ ))) It made me smile and it's so fun that Beth surprised you like that - wow! You like your brownies for breakfast!!! Thanks, dave. Love your envelope for Beth too!

  2. Thank you, Dave. I didn't know my package would be quite so mysterious and so timely. I had no idea. But I'm thrilled that it has all unfolded as it has. I am also thrilled with your envelope and honored. It is definitely an unexpected gift. Thank you. Also, I made brownies last night and had some for breakfast...but, not cereal. LOL. bb

  3. What a lovely surprise, Dave! A perfect gift for you.


  4. Unlike some mail-artists who seem to simply throw [up...:)...] stuff on paper, your designs are meaningful, clean, aerated, and pleasing. :)

  5. Fun stuff!!

    I was up in northern Michigan earlier this week and happened to go into this great shoe store in Petosky (?) that not only had a great selection of shoes...but lots and lots of vintage items....including signage, etc. from Buster Brown shoes! All of which reminded me of your post a while ago about Poll Parrot Shoes. Some things were better once upon a time...

  6. That is a neat piece.

    And I visited Beth Bynum's blog. Nice artwork. :-)

    My hubby makes a pretty good scone too. We don't have them as often as we used to because we haven't quite settled into the 'new' schedule that we now have to endure. I hope to convince him to start making them the evening prior so that I can get back to my once a week scone fix. lol