I prefer to work on the original document itself. There are thousands and thousands available and do not hold much intrinsic value, so I like giving new life to the document itself, that was handled and created in the distant past. What hands held it so long ago? Kind of like time travel, holding it in my hands in the present day.
I left everything about this old, old envelop untouched, but added the swallow, cut out from an equally old book on birds and placed it just where the blue line crossed through the address, giving the illusion that the bird is sitting on the line. The background is the back cover of a vintage book that was quite tattered and falling apart.
I used one of my hand cut stencils to stamp a faded red onto this envelop and then filled in the openings in the stencilled image with tiny dots of white, to make it look like lace. The small portrait of the lady in the gold paper frame is a piece of paper ephemera from the late 1800s. I like to think the letter was intended for her.... The background is my handmade, hand printed and painted paper.
The telegram below I altered to reflect my friend Michelle's name and her husbands name as a memento this summer of their wedding and replaced the sender's name with my own :-). I hand painted (watercolor) a small sketch of a rose onto the telegram.
This is a old receipt from France (1938). I cut the moth from an equally old illustration and adhered it to the receipt. Because they are both very old, it looks like it actually was printed that way.