Postcards: My window to the world

For a change, this is not part of my New York Corona diaries, and I’ve decided to start a new section on postcards, after having returned to active trading again in the past few weeks. (Avatar coming.)

I started collecting postcards when I joined the International Youth Service back in high school in the early 80s. That was before the time of the internet, when there was no email, and people communicated with letters and the post office and Hallmark was kept busy.

Sadly, IYS was a casualty of the internet age. We signed up for penfriends by paying for a match with fellow students across the globe. We used International Money Order to pay for the membership, and I found my world open to some great friendships, one of which has lasted to today. (Thank you, Clara.)

Postcards

It was through these penfriends and the exchange of letters, photos and gifts, that I got into postcard collecting. Until then, postcards were occasional mementos I would come across among my mom and dad’s things, but never really something I was interested in. I remember National Bookstore had shelves of them among the greeting cards they imported and eventually printed in association with Hallmark, but I never really paid attention.

But in the course of introducing my country to these newfound friends, I found myself scouring those shelves eventually, to introduce them to the Philippines. As a result, I got postcards in return.

Back then, I was pretty much confined to the Philippines and did not really leave the country until I had started working. International travel wasn’t quite as accessible as it was to everyone back then, and my family had other priorities, so my vacations were month-long stays in Baguio. Postcards were my window to the world. I found myself fascinated with the postcards I received. And then a friend who had left for the US (Caloy) during high school sent me a postcard from California. That remains to be one of my first and most cherished cards in my collection, because it was one of the cards that kicked off this now life long passion.

I got most of my postcards with the letters, so they were unwritten on and unstamped. Because of the many penfriends I signed up for through a period of maybe 4-5 years, I was also able to start a stamp album, along with the stamps from projects an aunt who was a public school teacher in Bulacan had her students do. Sadly, that stamp album disappeared before I entered law school. That’s another story for another time. Disheartened by that loss, I gave up collecting stamps and stuck with postcards. (I would eventually return to collecting them for mixed media projects, that’s why I have a modest stash of modern stamps from all over right now.)

I was eagle eyed everywhere I went, collecting some unusual cards most people would not pay attention to. This postcard from the then fashion entrepreneur pioneer Sari-sari store was one I picked up as I checked out. (For the younger crowd, Sari-sari was one of the pioneering multi-label umbrella concept store where various brands had their space in a stylish spread.). It wasn’t exactly a postcard with a mailing backing, but it was a card you could definitely send out, with interesting photography of one of the cutlery they sold under the label.

Postcards

I attended a fashion show in the 90s featuring Asian fashion designers from all over, and the souvenir, instead of a printed programme, was a fold out map on one side, and the other side divided into postcard panels devoted to one designer with their bio. (The panels were perforated for easy tearing.)

When I went into bookstores or hotel gift shops, my eyes immediately searched for the postcard rack and I would grab several of each design for trade. After maybe 4-5 years of doing this, I started realizing that I should be keeping one of each for my own collection. At that point, some of the postcards were already out of print. Still, I managed to buy postcards and save what I could for my personal collection and still do, every time I go home.

I used to collect anything and everything. I guess when you are a novice collector, you tend to be less discriminating and just marvel at sheer volume instead of looking at what truly appeals to you. My collecting interests were refined through the years, and currently stands at maps, lighthouses, vintage and modern Philippines, New York and Paris.

I managed to save one of the iconic Philippine map postcards that was available until NBS stopped printing it. (Please bring it back!). Other map postcards that followed were more stylized and not quite as impactful as the one that started it all. I am hoping to one day come up with a map postcard I can print in association with a friend’s company who is engaged in the printing of maps and cartographic materials. That is a dream.

When I moved to New York in 2000, I found myself encountering vintage postcards of the Philippines which were a source of fascination for me. I had a postcard store sending me cards to review and buy, there was eBay and the occasional antiquing. Bring me to an antique store and the first thing I ask about are postcards and ephemera. I would go through postcards in boxes one by one — and picked out some prized possessions. I eventually figured out that there were postcards of the Philippines here because Americans back home sent them to family and friends in the US during the early 1900s. Although I had decided early on that I would focus on vintage Philippines, New York and Paris, there were irresistible vintage postcard lots for sale that meant getting the above would come with others I wasn’t particularly interested in.

I have enough vintage postcards that I was able to complete an album of postmarks from 1901 on, and I am continuing to organize the other categories. One of my favorites is the postcard of the Little Church at the Corner in Greenwich Village, which I have at least 3 copies of, and the 4th of which I had gifted to a young postcard friend. (That postcard deserves its own blog post.. soon.)

Postcards

Moving to New York also exposed me to various postcard trading groups which traded through the old style message bill boards (again, something the younger generation would not be aware of), snail mail round robins and postcard lists, etc. (Again another blog post.). This was the point where I found myself drifting towards collecting maps and lighthouses — postcards I traded for with the same or stadiums, cityscapes and other NY-related postcards. When I started out, again, I failed to save one of each of the postcards I sent out, and only started that after around two years of being a New Yorker.

I keep telling newbies not to forget that, because through the years, landscapes change — and the cityscape of New York is one of the most dynamic skylines in the world. Saddest of all was 9/11, which completely changed how downtown looked. I have a special section in my collection for the postcards that depict that part of the city. Recently, I was amazed that I actually found three postcards I sent to Carlos, my young friend, which showed downtown before 9/11, after 9/11 but before the Freedom Tower was built, and then now as it looks with the Freedom Tower standing proud. History in postcards.

Postcards

I stopped trading actively for around 5 years, but have continually sent out postcards to friends who collect as well, and have never stopped buying cards to add to my collection. New York is a treasure trove of postcards of all sizes, shapes, price and kind. From the 10 for $1 tourist postcards to the lenticular or holographic postcards priced at $5 up, and the postcard booklets or sets that go for anywhere from $5-$25, this is postcard heaven. Travel stops, museums, bookstores, airports are also a constant source of additional cards. And now the postcard groups from Yahoo are on Facebook, and there’s Postcrossing and Swapbot. (Yes, I’ve tried them all.). But postcard sources are not always obvious. Some of my most unusual acquisitions were from even more unusual sources. (Which I will write about separately, again.)

Many of my postcards have lain dormant and untended in boxes that I am just getting back to now. I have come to realize that those postcards that don’t fall within my collecting interest need a new home. Some of them have yellowed or have gotten crumpled through the years, because they were not special enough to be kept in the boxes where I have the lighthouses and maps. Still, I am surprised at how some have remained looking like new as the day I received or bought them, perhaps on a trip while passing through that state or country. I also need to take better care of the postcards I do collect and which were recent acquisitions and find the boxes where the rest are. (Somewhere up in my attic.)

Through the years, I have made a practice of sending postcards home to myself, addressed to my son, to chronicle trips or vacations. Depending on where I was, and of course, the availability of postcards, that was a travel diary of anywhere from 3 to 20-something postcards. Yes, even when we go home to Manila every year. It was disappointing that during my last trip to Bicol where my mom hails from in 2019, there was not a single postcard of Mayon Volcano or of the Cagsawa ruins which i visited then for the second time, in the National Bookstore at SM Legaspi. (Shocker.) I ended up getting those postcards from Manila, and writing about the trip belatedly. I’m not too picky about postmarks if it can be helped, but I have sent a whole bunch of postcards to the post office manager of one of the states we visited with the stamped postcards enclosed, and they were promptly mailed back to me.

The other day, my 16 year old son (who has no interest in postcards, Starbucks mugs or the autographed books I collect) were going over the older New York postcards I was scanning to post in my IG account, @postcard_storyteller . We were reading the scribbling on the back and inspecting the postmark and the postcards themselves. Some were from before 1910 and some in the 1950s. The stories these postcards tell. It made me wonder how things were back then — and what was it like sending that postcard, and how was it for the ones who received them.

Postcards

I have also started segregating the postcards I had gotten through the years from fellow postcard collectors in the Philippines. Going through one of my folders from the office, I stumbled upon a postcard from a friend who had passed away recently after a years long bout with cancer. I had met her when she was in remission in 2016, and we had constantly surprised each other with postcards through the years. I knew she wasn’t well, but she had even requested a postcard from me, one of those times I announced a give away in our postcard group for Philippine postcrossers as I started getting back into trading last year. Her postcard was stamped and addressed, just waiting for my scribbling. (I do take the time to write, more so when it’s someone I know.). then I heard she was gone. And just recently, the postcard from way back popped up from that folder, and to me, that was her hello from heaven.

Postcards

Letter writing has always been something I enjoyed immensely. That’s why I have tried so hard to get back into the tradition of sending Christmas cards. (Yay for 2019 and 2020!). Now, I’ve returned to writing and trading postcards, not just for my own collection but to add to others.

When I go through the cards I had acquired through the years, I remember the people and places associated with those postcards. For those acquired during trips, I am brought back to those places again. And even now as I’m weeding out the postcards I do not intend to keep, I marvel at how they continue to give me a window into worlds I would otherwise have not seen. Whether forward looking or retrospectively towards a distant time in the past, these are priceless snippets that these cards have gifted me. So next time you walk past a postcard rack, stop a while and see if a card calls out to you and grab it. Then even if you only have yourself to send it to, try and capture that moment, put a stamp on that card, and send it on its way.

For postcard collectors:

Please leave a comment here (all comments are moderated) or leave me a message on my IG account, postcard_storyteller

Thank you postcards are here!

First of the batchWe’ve all heard it said that we should count our blessings and see how fortunate we are rather than dwell on the glass being half empty.  One of my favorite singers from back home even wrote a song — a Christmas song, at that — about counting one’s blessings instead of sheep.

I’ve been trying to get this project off the ground for a bit now, but I had been momentarily distracted from doing it sooner.  I never stopped production, though, as I have been constantly producing the bits and pieces making up the postcards.  Before the week ended, I had finished no less than 6 pieces, ready for mailing.  (One each reserved for Raine and Kat back in Manila.)

I want to do a test run of the postcards’ integrity as a mail art piece before launching the project.  (Pia, and anyone else interested to be part of the test run, please e-mail me your address at gothamchicketsy @ gmail.com and I will send you one as a test piece.)

Each postcard will be numbered, signed and documented on the project web site.  I am still trying to decide whether I will use a generic scan code for the project (which, I already have) or if I will generate one per piece (which seems daunting as it is!).  The postcards are already in my Flickr gallery for you to view and I will write a blog post on the first set in my craft blog, Gotham Chick before the weekend is over.

I actually almost don’t want to let go of the first set because I really, really like the way they turned out.  I particularly loved how the antique book pages sprayed with ink and then hand-lettered with the “THANK YOU” on the front, embellished by pieced paper flowers and for some, by dried rose petals came together.  (I love rose petals, what can I say..).  I’m still debating about whether or not I will do the edges in gold acrylic paint.  (It not only “frames” the piece but also provides a third sealant on the glued paper.  This had also been a signature of mine when I used to do mail art and artist trading cards.)

So what’s the whole point of the project?  The test run is really very different from what I’m trying to do with the Thank You Postcard Project.  For the test run, I thank YOU.  For the project, I want to help you thank someone else.  (At least that’s how the project has shaped up.)  Is it a social experiment of sorts?  In a way, yes.  But plain and simple, it’s just a pay-it-forward kind of project to help spread some good will.

It MIGHT yet finally get off the ground!

All excited this Halloween Friday, and hoping I can get the back layout finalized.  If not, I can always doodle and zentangle it for the first set.  They are, after all, the very first pieces going out.  Now, which one to keep?

Friday Five Take 3

I could’ve written this post yesterday but I sort of felt bad that I had not much progress to report.

Here’s my list for the previous week:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  The funny thing is I keep making the stationery.  Time to write!

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I’ve put this in the backburner the previous week but hope to do at least one post this weekend.  You can read more about my creative pursuits in this post from my craft blog, Gotham Chick.

3.  Deal with Angelo’s leftover school supplies from the previous year and get rid of what I am not keeping.  This is something I enjoy doing every year.  Unlike other moms, I don’t throw away his composition notebooks.  I actually cut out the seam and take the cover off, and I cut the sheets that have not been written on.  I use it for scratch paper and shopping lists.  The ones I can’t use I’ve already thrown away.  I always keep his old crayons and marker sets for use at home working with next year’s school homeowork.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  While there are a ton of charities here in the US, I keep Angelo’s old clothes and send them with the balikbayan box I send home periodically for my mom to distribute to the poor families in her community in Bulan, Sorsogon.  I don’t send it right away but box them when I can so that they can “compress” and become easier to pack when the bigger box is being assembled.

5.  Write the introductory post about my Thank You Project.  I’ve created the video channel on YouTube and have actually created a separate blog which is still private, but I want to do this right so I’m taking it slow.  Over 100 + postcard backgrounds, 50+ flower embellishments cut and drawn, and other embellishments coming.  I haven’t quite decided the tiers for the group funding project that will accompany it but I’m getting there.  If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, this one will be #thethankyoupostcardproject .

So I guess I was wrong to think that I hadn’t actually accomplished much against last week’s list.  Here’s this week’s list:

1.  Write those letters.  I must confess that one reason this is taking a while to get off the ground is that I like to write spontaneously but I feel like there is so much I’d like to keep out of those letters.  I have never been one to edit myself but at this point, there is so much about what I think and feel that I need to keep close to my chest.  I will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!  I do have three to four ready for posting — after attaching the earwires and photographing them.  I also have two to three necklaces.  The sun’s been shy this Saturday so I will wait for it to come out a little more just so I can have better lighting.  I like the way that natural light plays with the pieces I have been creating.

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  One thing that I have found helpful is writing things longhand instead of waiting to be in front of my laptop or finding time to draft a post on the iPhone.  And it helps me organize things better visually.

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m wondering if this should be part of #1.  I have printed some of my own photos and treated the front with mod podge but I’m afraid of how the pieces will “travel” or deal with the wear and tear of handling in the mail.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been trying to get back to polymer clay a while now but it’s always taken a back seat to everything else.  Yesterday I started “conditioning” clay in the pasta machine and even worked on creating molds.  One of two came out well which inspires me to keep going.  The thing is working with clay and actually producing a baked piece can be quite a production, but I’m hoping to get moving with this this week.

A bit of the old and some new ones.. keeping it at five so that it’s not too overwhelming.  Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

Between Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams

I opted to get off a stop earlier on my way to the hotel for the ride home and check out the MoMA gift shop since I knew they’d be open late because it was a Friday. (Uniqlo Fridays are from 4-8pm when the public is allowed to enter the museum free.). They always have new postcard offerings and their sale rack always has a robust selection. The only thing is that while the rack is labeled “SALE”, they have no price tags. Regular postcards sell for $1.25 to $2.00, and the postcards that were on sale went for .25 and .50 cents. You can’t go wrong with that!!

I took my pick of 8-10 postcards, trying not to splurge, and milled around. I spied an Andy Warhol postcard book which I almost grabbed, but I thought I’d get some lenticular (3d) postcards instead. Walking to the check out line, though, I saw a special rack dedicated to items focusing on Ansel Adams. And there it was, a postcard set (not a book) of Ansel Adams photography. Ansel Adams won out and I happily grabbed it..Vintage Postcards: To keep or to give away?

Not to say that I think Ansel Adams is a better or bigger artist than Andy Warhol — I have great respect for these two names who are superstars in their respective genre (photography and pop art respectively) — but I figured I could always go back for the Warhol. While I try not to fall prey to procrastination when it comes to postcard buys (“I’ll grab it next time.”), I try not to go overboard with the postcard shopping. I could’ve grabbed both but I thought that was a bit much.

The art postcards which were on sale will be a good addition to my collection and for trading with others with a preference for non-touristy postcards.

I’ve been going through my vintage postcard collection and sorting out what I can get rid of, either by way of trading them off, selling them on eBay or just giving them to someone who would be able to use them for their collection. I’ve pretty much confined my antique/vintage preferences to Philippines, New York, and other places we’ve visited like Paris and Brugge. I acquired these other antique postcards through other postcard lots I had bought or received in previous years. I figure someone would find value in them as part of their collection or as plain ephemera for other use.

Any takers? Email me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com with “vintage postcards” in the subject line.

Meanwhile, here’s to Ansel Adams and the MoMA..=).

Beads and postcards on a lazy Sunday

While most of my part of the world is all agog about SuperBowl Sunday, we slept through the afternoon lazily, just enjoying the time to relax.  My back is giving me problems — and I always welcome the chance to recharge which I cannot do as leisurely as I can on weekdays.  Lunch was at almost 4pm — thanks to Pizza Hut.

I had a most disturbing dream, though, about a favorite “niece” (although she is the daughter of a friend and not a blood relative).  Stranger still, I was in Manila.  Well, thinking of Manila is nothing new.  Dreaming of it is.  So I’m making a mental note to write my dear Evita later and ask how she’s doing.

I am also trying to get my creations going, so I sorted through a shoe-box full of odds and ends I had dumped together while cleaning up my work space.  Sorting through the various head and eyepins (that little pin-like metal object that you string beads with) took the early afternoon.  I tried to set aside the half-finished rosary bracelets I had as well which I hope to post in the shop after finishing them and photographing the pieces.  By the time I finished, the sandman was calling.  At my age, I’ve learned that it’s easier to just give in rather than fight it — and it’s more beneficial to me when I let myself take a moment to recharge by closing my eyes for a nap..

I’ve learned to embrace aging gracefully by acepting my limitations while trying to continue to live a productive life.  While I have done rather poorly in terms of managing my weight, I console myself with the thought that that has been a life-long struggle for me. I’ll get to it yet, if only to try and prevent the onset of diseases relating to aging and weight gain.  Something tells me my back problem is, in part, the result of the weight my spine has been punished with.

It’s getting dark outside as the sun is getting ready to set.  The thin layer of snow on the ground is beginning to melt.  It’s still freezing cold, and I just hope that’s all the snow we’re getting.  I have never stopped to marvel how nature maintains a balance and the creatures outside seem to go on unaffected by the brutal cold, being that I can hear birds chirping outside as if it was just any other day.

My first month of Life 4×6 is done, but I’m pulling together the photos with captions and labels.  I still haven’t quite decided how I will pull it into an album.  The 12-photo spread of the regular albums really seems too big, but to go any smaller would mean doing more albums.

I had drafted an extensive post on this the last few days, but since I’m not quite done yet, I’ve held off.  In due time.

ATC: Heart ATC 1Meanwhile, I’ve successfully slowed down on the ATC swaps.  My friend CuriosaKat whom I had bumped into at a Postcrossing Philippines group on Facebook had suggested I join the group.  It’s been a most interesting ride through the last 6 months and quite a learning experience.  Postcard collecting and exchanges have changed radically in the past few years, and I’ve had my bumps and scrapes in returning to active trading but I think I’ve managed to get into a manageable rhythm now.

I gave Postcrossing a try, but to those used to the more defined method of collecting postcards, it can get tiring and costly without the satisfaction of acquiring that which you collect.  It’s good if you are after volume, but I’ve been there, done that.   It would have been something I would’ve embraced enthusiastically when I started collecting almost 30 years ago, but at this point, I want to confine myself to the particular collecting interests I have identified.

Volume is one way to find satisfaction in trades, and if the idea is for you to collect from every possible postmark or country, then Postcrossing is for you.  But if you prefer to receive your postcards unstamped and “naked” in an envelope, then you’re better off with the private swaps or in swap forums like Swap-bot.com .

I participate in the swaps mostly to help me find a new home for the postcards I don’t need.  New York is such a tourist haven that we can never have enough supplies of the so-called touristy postcards, but when you’re sending out to a select group, it makes it imperative that you get a little creative sourcing your postcards.  It also gives me a chance to check out the different offerings for my own collection of “anything New York,” be it modern or vintage.

Postcards from Philippines, The: Map 3So what do I collect?  Maps have always been of special interest to me, although even that particular collecting interest has been “refined”.  Some postcard map collectors will accept street views as “map postcards”, and I used to include that in my collection.  In fine tuning my “wants”, though, I have decided actual state or city or country maps which shows a land formation or routes instead of those implied by streets on a postcard were what I wanted.

To date, I have at least one map from each state (yes, even the more elusive ones), but I have come to discover that there are multiple variations to each state, not only terms of design, but also in size.  So there are states which I have a half dozen different designs for.  Even the Philippines where I come from has produced several map postcards, beyond the very first ones we used to trade in the 80s.  I am still trying to find the time to photograph (as against scanning) the collection, but I’ve managed to upload a few in this album on my Flickr account.

If I were to identify which part of postcard collecting I find most fulfilling, I would have to say it’s going through my vintage postcard collection.  Browsing the prices on Ebay makes me think of putting up my postcards on the auction site, but that is also what makes me want to keep them all the more.

Although my vintage postcard collecting interest is confined to Maps, Lighthouses, New York, The Philippines, Paris and the places we have visited (like Bruge and Brussels in Belgium and Chartres in France), I have somehow amassed a pile of other vintage postcards I need to find a home for.  Soon enough.  I just sent one I successful dated to a fellow postcard collector in Pampanga in the Philippines, something printed in the 30s. (!)

Collecting?  Drop me an e-mail at my postcard collecting account aptly named postcardmailbox@gmail.com

Tornado warnings and Nilagang Manok

A tornado warning for Queens.. well, the rain came and went (and it was strong rain, mind you…) and I didn’t even see the SMS warning until it was over!  No tornado on my side of Queens although one made it to shore in the same relative area.

I was kind of hoping my headache would be gone by the time I woke up this morning, but while it hasn’t (unfortunately), it has diminished somehow.  (Aleve, don’t fail me now!)

Woke up and fed everyone, did my usual pancake breakfast for one, and I sat down to write a penpal letter for one of the swaps I signed up for at Swap-bot.com.  After vacillating between writing it long-hand or typing it, I finally wrote it while sitting next to the boy.

My Altered Book: Layout in Progress - Purple YamI’ve been so inspired doing My Altered Book that before and after chores and errands, (like the Nilagang Manok for the mother-in-law), I’ve been working on more pages layouts.  I just completed doing a full acrylic paint background before sitting down to hopefully finish this post. I’m around a dozen layouts ahead of the actual pages I’m journaling on.  This way, I can write more spontaneously when I start writing.  (I’m rambling.)

Saturday evening and kind of floating here and there.  I’m also trying to further organize my postcards yet again.  At least I’m seeing the surplus cards either going to other collections or being converted into artist trading card blanks.  I just found some theme park postcards of Hershey Park and I’m wondering if anyone in my groups actually collect rollercoasters which was a unique but popular collecting category from a long, long time ago.  (If anyone is at all interested, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com)

I found postcards of St.Petersburg (Russia) and am still vacillating between offering them for trade or keeping them.  That happens a lot but I’m trying very, very hard to keep to my collecting interests.

The postcards from the Philippines have started arriving! =)  I’m all excited.

I just haven’t had the chance to photograph them.  Thank you to all who have been sending them in.  I can’t wait to get the rest.  (More are on the way!)  I’ve been getting some nice postcards from all over the world — even of maps and lighthouses which I am really into — but those coming from Manila are always more special.

I need to hit the sack now and get ready for the rest of my weekend.  Sunday’s minutes away!

Artist Trading Cards, etc.

I’ve been cutting up extra freecards (of which I have quite a lot!) into the denominated size of 3.5 x 2.5 inches with my paper trimmer, and have been creating sets of backgrounds, much like I did with my mail art postcards.

I have a few that have been gessoed over, some have been pasted with used brown paper bags and book pages, and tonight, I tried to do watercolor and acrylic paint backgrounds straight on the matte side which is the side you are supposed to address and write your message on. Those pieces are currently drying. I did them in between cooking the rice, frying the petite fillet and heating the roasted potatoes on the stove. Ha! I’m just happy to have had the chance to put together a home-cooked meal for the family which even my usually picky mother-in-law liked.  It’s not that easy to serve her up savory dishes when she has her diabetes and heart condition. We try.  I’d have done more if I wasn’t feeling under the weather. I’m ready to do my first batch of Artist Trading Cards.

And I have my altered book resting on my lap right now. I just can’t stopp myself from going page to page even as I have yet to start with the dedication which I will work on tomorrow.

Except for photographing and sorting postcards in my collection, I did manage to keep away from trading or dealing with the trade like I had promised myself yesterday. I had dropped off quite a bunch of postcards at the post office Saturday with the majority of the cards heading for the Philippines.

I’ve found it very heartening that people are now into postcard trading even if it feels different because of the preference for cards being sent postmarked. Back in the day when I was actively collecting, I preferred to get my cards in an envelope.

With new online projects like Postcrossing where postcard trades are randomly assigned on a pay-it-forward basis (it is not an exchange but rather, participating means you will get a postcard from someone else you don’ t know), I see more and more people participating more for the experience of the exchange rather than seriously collecting postcards. As for me, I am happy to have received noteworthy additions to my maps, lighthouses and Philippine postcard collection. (I am still eagerly awaiting the postcards from the Philippines, which, given the literal snail’s pace that the postal office moves at, should be arriving in my mailbox any day now.)

I’m still trying to learn the basics and rudiments of ATC trading.  Unlike postcards which can be bought to add to your collection,  ATCs are traded.  Postcards are usually chosen, too, by the intended recipient and traded for something the sender prefers.  ATCs may be traded blind, meaning with no agreement as to which piece or pieces will be exchanged.  Swaps can also be of multiples and are sent to and then sent out by the swap host.

Well, I’m still a long way away from trading — give me a couple of days more.  For now, it’s cutting and creating…cutting and creating.

Sabado (Saturday) Morning

I’ve been busy with the postcards (yet again) and addressed three Sesame Street postcards to three Filipino fellow postcard collectors. This was a postcard I had gotten a couple of years back from Sesame Place, back when my now 8-year-old was starstruck by the sight of Elmo, Ernie and Bert and Super Grover. These days, it’s the postcards from Disney Hollywood Studios  showing Star Wars that gets his attention.

The Sesame Street Gang (Sesame Place Postcard)

I already have a copy of this which I had sent home addressed to my son, and remember that I had bought it to trade away.  I haven’t been trading for the last 8 years but have continued to collect postcards.  Alas, it’s time to weed out the postcards which don’t belong to my collecting interests so I offered them to Postcrossing Philippines on Facebook of which I am a part of.  All three have been picked up and are on their way.

It’s a sunny Saturday here and I guess we’re going out for errands after the usual family lunch.  I’m not too upbeat about it because I’m not feeling well.  (Something we ladies have to deal with on a monthly basis.)  This time around is particularly painful, but I’m trying to think happy thoughts to chase the pain away.    (The boy was sitting on the sofa shoulder-to-shoulder with me waiting for me to finish with the laptop so he can play an online game that he can’t do on the iPad.  I gave him a look and told him it takes me longer to write if someone’s waiting on me.  I think it worked.)

Three day weekend on our side of the world as the United States celebrates Labor Day.  We have no special plans.  Just stay home, do errands, relax and recharge.

I plan to continue organizing the postcards, work on my Art Journal and my Altered book, write a few letters (penpals and friends await!), and maybe, just maybe, read a chapter or two more of my current book which has been mothballed a couple of months now, A STORM OF SWORDS: A Song of Fire & Ice Book III.  “Kindling” (hahaha!) used to be a comfort, but nowadays, I’m not that close with my e-reader anymore.  Maybe it’s time to renew the friendship, specially since I always have the work Ipad with me.

Three day weekends are going to be scarce and precious now that school is opening this Thursday for New York.  My little guy is trying to enjoy what’s left of summer, but isn’t particularly excited.  (Or he’s just trying to hide it.)

I just want to be able to sit down and paint, do collage, and try new things.  And I’m doing one of my favorite things right now which is writing here.  =) Literally, it made me smile.

I’m thinking Steak Fajitas at Chili’s this afternoon.  =)  Yet another smile.  No guacamole for me, though.  Everything please BUT the guacamole.  I Except when served at Dos Caminos, I’m not particularly fond of avocados except as a dessert like we make it in the Philippines.

Lunch time for the mother-in-law so have to go and get a-heating in the kitchen.  Here’s to a fruitful long weekend for those of us here in the US.

Newspaper Postcard Collage: Almost caught up

Between the Altered Book and my postcards, I am slowly catching up with the backlog.  I’m actually missing only one date now in August, and by the weekend, I would’ve completed my first month of Newspaper Postcard Collages.  Wow.

I actually like going through them when I can, and I’m trying to “seal” them with mod podge to protect them from getting damaged.  I like that these projects that keep me on my toes are actually not that time sensitive, to the point that I get stressed out about it.  A day at a time, I tell myself.

Below is an exception to my headlines which is actually a collecting category of and by itself: Recipes.  I don’t collect them and only do them on the postcards thinking that there might be someone who might become interested some day to get one of mine.  Hmmmm…  For now, I’m enjoying “chronicling” the headlines from day to day between THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

[57] Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The New York Times, 29Aug2012 #2

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