how to recycle photo calendars into envelopes

It’s that time of year when you toss last year’s calendar and start all over with a new calendar. If you are starting a New Year with the same resolutions, don’t despair. At least you can do something artsy with the calendar that failed to cooperate. Use those pretty calendar pages of cats, flowers, or horses to make envelopes!

  1. Remove your favorite photos from a calendar with roughly 8-1/2 x 11 photos. The calendar photo should be vertically oriented because your envelope template is about 10 inches in length. You’ll understand this the first time you try to make an envelope out of a mountain landscape and the photo is not as tall as your template.
  2. On the web, get yourself a free A2 size envelope template. The A2 size is for cards with a finished size of 4-1/2 x 5-1/2. Or an 8-1/2 x 11-inch letter that has been folded into fourths.
  3. Print the template out on copier paper then run it through your printer’s copier onto a piece of cardstock.
  4. Cut out the cardstock envelope template. A cardstock template is not ideal because you can’t see through it. If you envision yourself going off the deep end making envelopes, consider purchasing a transparent plastic template such as the one made by JudiKins. I’ve had mine so long it actually has 1994 printed on it. Copying onto a transparency didn’t work — the inkjet ink smudged off.
  5. Keep in mind where your address sticker will go and move the template around on the calendar page to get the best view of the cats, flowers, or horses. This is why a transparent template is best – you can actually see the image on the calendar page. I have never used the big cat envelope pictured below because I didn’t think about the address sticker.
  6. Trace around the template.
  7. Cut on your tracing lines and then fold on all the lines that form the 4-3/8 x 5-3/4 rectangle. If you want to be very precise, use a ruler with bone folder or ball stylus to score the envelope lines. In a pinch, a butter knife will work.
  8. Use double-stick tape or a tape runner like Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive for the two side flaps and the closure flap.
  9. Avery address labels don’t always stay on the glossy calendar envelopes long enough to reach the intended destination. I would suggest using clear tape over the address label or adhering the back of the label with a Xyron Mega Runner. That stuff sticks!


Left to right: envelope template, two envelopes, ruler, stylus, bone folder, Tombow adhesive and Xyron Mega Runner

Envelopes can also be made from magazine pages, gift wrap, scrapbook paper, sheet music (or a copier version), or recycle interesting junk mail. You can use the template to scale up or down in size by carefully moving it left or right.

If you are a free spirit like my long-time mail art buddy in Ohio, there’s an even easier way to make envelopes. She carefully tears apart an existing envelope, places it on the calendar page and proceeds to trace or cut around it. Sometimes her envelopes have been fashioned in such a way that I’m not quite sure how to get into them. Prior to 9/11, we had a lot of fun testing the mailman’s sense of humor.

So what do you think? Does this look like fun mail?


I am a fan of touring artist’s studios when they are open to the public. It’s a great chance to see the studio spaces of painters, photographers, print makers, sculptors, and textile artisans as well as purchase their artwork. I learned about the CoRK Open Studios via an email from Yelp three days before the event. The CoRK tours have been going on for years, possibly as early as 2013, but the last open studio tours I knew of were held at private homes in the Riverside area in the late ’90’s.

I was disappointed that their website had none of the history of how the The CoRK Arts District (an acronym for corner of Rosselle and King) came into being. I found some of the history in our local newspaper, The Florida Times-Union.  Mac Easton, a partner in Pine Street/RPS, decided artist studios were the best use for 80,000 square feet of warehouse space. The location was no longer suited to industrial or retail use. He approached the artist, Dolf James, with the hope that Dolf would attract other artists, and Dolf moved his studio to one of the warehouses in April 2011.

On Saturday, November 17, I showed up at The CoRK Arts District along with several hundred others who were interested in seeing inside an artist’s studio that is normally not open to the public. The sheer lack of parking is the probable reason the area is not suited to industrial or retail use and parking that could have been used at other buildings was roped off. I started the self-guided tour near where I parked my car. At the third building, I got my hands on a full-color, 4-page brochure with a map on the front page. Not that it helped. You’ve heard about the dimwit who gets lost in an elevator? Yes, Virginia, I kept getting turned around in the hallways of those warehouses and wished I had brought bread crumbs.

It appeared from the map that CoRK encompassed four warehouses named North, South, East and West plus 3 other buildings. I completely missed the recording studio and I’m not sure I saw everything I was supposed to see at CoRK South.

The following photos are a sampling of the 70 studios that were open on the tour.



Yellow bungalow with the word ART painted in black and turquoise
Yellow House


Prints by Hope McMath, who is well known in the local arts community.
Prints by Hope McMath, who is well known in the local arts community.


Artfully rendered school bus in the yard of Yellow House.

On the hood of the bus, above the headlights, was this quote: “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” – Rosa Parks



The next two photos are murals painted on the exterior walls of the various warehouses.




Multi-color diagonal, overhead, string art in one of the warehouse hallways
Multi-color string art in one of the warehouse hallways.


Douglas Eng’s studio fascinated me. He had a lot of beautiful tree photographs and we were allowed to take a postcard of a cypress tree. One of his photos was a section of a huge high rise apartment building in Hong Kong where people live stacked on top of each other because of population density. You can find it and see more of his photos at I heard him explaining something about a “sandwiching” technique to achieve the long, horizontal tree photo below.


long horizontal photo of trees hanging above piles of branches
Douglas Eng — long photo of trees hanging above piles of branches


Douglas Eng - Odd-shaped structure of photos of trees. On wheels.
Douglas Eng – Structural photography of trees


Zentangle and rubber stamp art.
Zentangle and rubber stamps. This was inside Douglas Eng’s studio but I believe it was a different artist.


Tiffany Manning’s art studio stairs. The entire phrase is “Happiness is doing the things you love in the place you love with the people you love.”


Huge chalkboard wall in studios of Karen Kurycki, Amy Ploss-Samson and Jen Arevalo


Artwork above chalk wall.


Artwork on wall to right of chalk wall.


There were supposedly two artist studios at CoRK South but other than a lot of pottery and this chicken art, it was unclear if there were actual studios to visit. A sign with arrow would have helped.

Cartoonish painting of chicken with "Chicken Got My Mojo" phrase.
This piece of art was in Jeff Whipple’s area.



The front nameplate of an original Heidelberg printing press in the studio of Crystal Floyd.
The front nameplate of an original Heidelberg printing press in the studio of Crystal Floyd.


I believe these exposed wall tiles were also in Crystal Floyd’s studio.


I <i>think</i> this was Sharla Valeski's textile art hanging in a public area of the warehouse.
I think this was Sharla Valeski’s textile art hanging in a public area of the warehouse.


Exposed wooden wall in Sharla Valeski studio with a segmented wooden 5 hanging on the wall.
Exposed wooden wall in Sharla Valeski studio.


Sharla Valeski -- rusty box springs used as a wall to hang framed art.
Sharla Valeski — rusty box springs used as a wall to hang framed art.


Canvas attached to front door of Paul Ladnier studio.


I greatly admired this piece of art. Periodic Table by Princess Simpson Rashid.
I greatly admired this piece of art. Periodic Table by Princess Simpson Rashid.





Lycoris radiata, also known as Hurricane Lily, Red Spider Lily, and sometimes Resurrection Lily, Surprise Lily, and Magic Lily is a bulb plant. It often produces a flower stalk without any foliage, magically popping up out of the ground on 1 to 2 foot scapes and unfurling into an exotic flower for two weeks. Other years it doesn’t bloom at all. A pencil-width leaf with a silver-gray stripe running down the center appears after the bloom.

Hurricane Lily, Lycoris radiata


Hurricane Lily, Lycoris radiata, bloom begins to unfurl
Hurricane Lily, Lycoris radiata, bloom begins to unfurl


Hurricane Lily, before and during the bloom
Hurricane Lily, before and during the bloom

Hurricane Lily blooms in August and September usually after a heavy rain much like the Rain Lily, Zephyranthes. It prefers partial shade in soil that is moist but not boggy during the bloom season. It likely will not bloom the first year planted whether new to your yard or divided and replanted elsewhere.

Hailing from China and Japan, Hurricane Lilies have naturalized throughout the southeastern United States but also grows in California. It is poisonous and probably not a good plant to have around if you have a dog or other animal prone to digging. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions.

For more information, see the University of Florida’s Solutions for Your Life.


Hurricane Lilies are winter hardy from USDA Zones 5b down to 10. Above 5b, it should be overwintered indoors. Plant bulbs 9″ apart with the top 1/4 of the bulb exposed so the flower bud can develop.


Hurricane Lilies are a member of the Amaryllis genus with a growing habit similar to my Amaryllis Belladonna or Naked Ladies, Lycoris squamigera, a pink flowering bulb whose foliage appears before the bloom, and my Golden Spider Lily or Golden Hurricane Lily, Lycoris aurea, whose foliage appears afterwards.

Supposedly, it is quick to form large clumps because it spends no energy producing seeds. I thought it did produce seeds when I encountered what looked like green seed pods after the bloom faded but the pods ultimately withered away. One just never knows because the Southern Rural Route orbits the Crooked Moon.

Seed-like pods on red Hurricane Lily after the bloom
Seed pods?

The most likely method to acquire any of the lycoris bulbs is as a pass-along plant or through a mail order source. Mine was acquired in Texas through friends. I planted it beneath the shade of a cypress tree. I have ignored it at all times except when it blooms. I don’t fertilize it or cover it in the winter but it is in an area that gets occasional water. In the summer, when the bulbs are dormant, the soil should be on the dry side.

It does not seem to be bothered by pests or diseases.




Monarch butterflies have a mortality rate of over 90% due to parasites, predators and diseases. A Monarch butterfly flitting through your garden is a miracle of survival. It victoriously made it through the entire life cycle — egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult. After all that striving, it will live a mere 2 to 6 weeks as an adult butterfly.

This blackened Monarch caterpillar showed up in a small patch of milkweed I provide as a host plant for monarchs.


I consulted my friend, Cee, the Butterfly Lady, to find out what happened and she provided me with several possibilities.



Monarchs in tropical areas have the highest rate of infection from Ophryocystis Elektroscirrha, mostly referred to as OE probably because no one can pronounce it. OE is a parasitic single cell organism infecting only milkweed butterflies in the Lepidoptera order. The most well-known of these are Monarchs, Queens and the Luna Moth.

The Tachinid Fly, another parasite, attacks anywhere from 10% to 40% of the Monarch population by laying eggs on the caterpillar. The egg hatches and the fly larva bores into the butterfly caterpillar where it becomes a maggot that feeds on the caterpillar from the inside out. Doesn’t that sound awful?



The list of predators is long. Ants, mites, spiders, Chalcid and Trichogramma wasps, plus larval forms of other insects can attack the Monarch eggs. Birds and rodents can also attack caterpillars. As an adult, the Monarch may not make it to old age because of birds, dragonflies, mantids, parasites, wasps, rodents, and insecticides.



The two most common infections that result in “Black Death” are Pseudomonas and NPV. In both cases, the caterpillar shrivels up, turns black, and goo seeps from both ends.

Pseudomonas is a bacterial infection that likes warm, moist environments. It is found all over the world in soil, water and plants. It’s a good idea to allow your plants and soil to dry after watering to discourage development.

NPV, or Nuclear polyhedrosis virus, is most evident in areas with short or mild winters. The longer growing season allows time for NPV to spread. It causes caterpillars to crawl toward the top of the plant and then hang in an inverted V when it dies. Each caterpillar can have a billion virus particles. All that goo seeping from both ends spreads the virus.

A freeze might kill the plants on which virus particles from dying caterpillars exist but it does not kill the virus. Six hours of direct sun will kill the virus but, of course, the sun does not reach shady areas.

It’s hard to tell whether Pseudomonas, NPV or a predator killed a caterpillar because the caterpillar death often looks the same.

This is not a natural progression of a chrysalis. It became spotty, discolored and stayed that way for several days. The change to dark happens more evenly and rapidly in a healthy chrysalis. Photo by Cee.


More examples of infected chrysalis. Photo by Cee


Despite the discouragement of parasites, predators, and diseases, the female Monarch can produce 200 to 600 eggs in her short lifetime which means the 90% mortality rate still leaves almost 10% of caterpillars becoming butterflies. When you see one of those 10% flitting about in your garden, recognize the miracle you are witnessing.

You can help the caterpillars become butterflies by making room in your yard for native plants. According to Jim McCormac, in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, “Nearly all caterpillar species shun non-native flora.”

The University of Florida offers a list of host and food plants for Florida butterflies. You can’t go wrong with a few varieties of milkweed plants which are host plants for the Monarch, Queen and Soldier/Tropical Queen butterflies.


I would like to educate other members of the population who did not take plumbing and air-conditioning classes.  If your outdoor air-conditioning unit has a condensation drain, check it yearly. Make sure it is not clogged by roots, leaves and dirt. Failure to do so can cost you a heart-stopping chunk of change.


This is what my condensation drain looked like on the air-conditioning tech’s first visit. The drain pipe was almost buried but he didn’t seem to notice.


After the tech’s second visit, where he got down to the business of fixing what was actually wrong, my brother installed a 1-1/2 inch PVC pipe under the AC drain. He cut a hole in the PVC pipe where it meets up with the condensation drain and placed a piece of screen over that hole. A PVC end cap closed up the PVC pipe at that end.

This next photo is the other end. It was cut at an angle and left exposed for drainage purposes:


I learned about condensation drains the hard way. As is often the case, my 5-year-old Bryant air-conditioner (a Carrier product) stopped cooling in 93 degree weather. I am always so excited when it does that. Well, maybe not. On the first trip, the tech replaced the capacitor because some kind of measurement was at 43.5 and needed to be 45. Better to replace it than pay for another service call. The unit then kept me in cool comfort for 8 days. It chose to stop cooling on a day that I was not home. I couldn’t get it serviced until the next day.

On the second trip, the tech decided that my fan blower broke because roots had grown over the condensation drain. Huh? Yeah, that was my reaction, too.

Without proper drainage, condensation remained inside the unit to splash up on the blower each time the unit came on. In other words, it was my fault. It had just gone out of warranty, anyway.  I was most unhappy that my AC company, who installed the $3700 unit five years ago, never mentioned that I should monitor the condensation drain to insure it remained clutter free. When I mentioned this aggravation to my brother, he said they assume you know this. Well, gee, it is kind of obvious in hindsight now that I know what that small PVC pipe was supposed to do. However, never once in high school or college was I offered air-conditioning or plumbing classes. Thus, I didn’t realize the white PVC pipe was a drain. As a result of my ignorance, these two trips from the AC tech cost me $1600. Now, run outside and check your condensation drain, okay?