Postcards: What to write

Postcard Storyteller logo

A regular postcard is around 4″ x 6″, with a dividing line in the middle to denominate where the address of the recipient should be, along with the postage and airmail sticker as needed. The lines on the right side of the dividing line show us where to write the address — although I usually ignore those.. To the left, there would be the caption or description of the photo on the reverse, and some space to write something.

With roughly 3″ x 3″ of space to work with, a lot of people still find themselves in a quandary about what to write in that post-it size space. And should you actually be working with a bigger card, like say, 5″ x 7″, that becomes even more daunting for some! So below are a few essentials and writing prompts, in case you are at a loss as to what to write..

Date your postcard. Whether you will write it or use a date stamp, you are doing the recipient a favor by giving them a sense of when you wrote whatever you will write. As a collector, I’ve been thrown off track by vintage postcards whose postmarks are not easily discernible, either because the original was not that good an imprint, or because time has caused part of it to fade.

Affix a return address label, or write your address in smaller print, somewhere on the far left. Do not make the mistake of affixing a label right next to your addressee, because sorting machines and the humans who sort will sometimes make the mistake of returning your postcard to you. I use many of the free address labels that are used for fund raisers here in the US, but trimming it to its absolute borders so it doesn’t occupy too much space. If you will print, do it in 8pt or less. If you will write it, make it smaller in print than the body of your dedication.

This will also help the recipient identify the actual sender– more so if you tend to sign with a scribble or you have a nondescript nickname unfamiliar to the recipient. You also cannot presume that you are the only John or Ces sending to that person, and you’d want him or her to know it was you.

Introduce yourself in 10-15 words. I always like to know who sent me the card even if it’s a random swap like those we do on Postcrossing. In my case, that would be “I’m a Filipina who moved to New York 20 years ago.” (10 words). If I have space, I mention that “I’ve been collecting postcards for almost 40 years now.” (+9 words). If I have the space, I will put my collecting interest next, or if I’m sending a card based on a collecting profile, I make reference to what I collect in common with the recipient.

Another relevant fact to mention would be your family or work. I sometimes mention I’m a mom to a 17 year old or that I have a 17 year old son. If you have pets, and you know the recipient has them or is collecting postcards of those animals, you can put it in as well.

Say something about what’s on the postcard. I usually send a postcard of Times Square which is, literally, a hop, skip and a jump away from my place of work — and I mention that. “Times Square is just a few blocks away from where I work and is walking distance.” If you’re sending a landmark or iconic tourist spot, explain it in one sentence. “Mayon Volcano is a few hours away from me, and is a perfect cone volcano we are all proud of.” If there is a caption describing the front of the postcard, no need.

Postcards available for trade/Seap
Mention something you know about the person’s country or location. More so if you’ve already visited that place or province. It makes a connection — and makes the card you send out more personal. For recipients in France, I always mention I collect postcards from there because Paris is my favorite city outside of the US, having visited twice. Or if it’s a destination that you’ve always wanted to visit, again, it makes it personal.

I always smile when I read that the person sending me the card has been to New York or has always wanted to visit New York. It makes the connection.

If you will mention the temperature, please indicate in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Again, thinking about the recipient who might be on the Fahrenheit scale as compared to your Celsius or centigrade. You want him or her to appreciate how hot or how nice it is where you are.

Embellishments vs. more words? My preference is the latter. The washi tape and stickers are fun to assemble on a postcard as artistic expression, but the truth of the matter is, I like receiving meatier and wordier dedications. I like hearing about the person sending me the postcard, because for the most part, the postcard speaks for itself.

When you write me, I want to hear about who you are–

  • Are you a young postcard collector or like me, a golden girl who works and has a grown up son? Maybe you’re a stay at home mom or do you work and if you do, what do you do?
  • Do you live in the city or in the suburbs or a small town or village? (I have a personal curiosity about the latter..)
  • Where did you get this postcard?
  • Do you collect a specific category of cards?
  • Do you collect stamps? (I don’t but sometimes it explains the fancy stamps on the postcards.) Stamp collectors tend to be more deliberate about the stamps they use.
  • How is the weather where you are as you write — how is the season going?

Think of 3 words that would describe you and build on that. Mine would be

1) crafty, “I like to do crafts like crochet, jewelry, journaling and sewing.” ;

2) chocoholic, “I love chocolates! Do you?’ ;

3) blogger, “I blog at pinaynewyorker.com”.

Have a personal tag line that is self explanatory. Mine is “I am a perpetual tourist in NY.”

And if you are a postcrosser, don’t forget the Postcrossing ID!

I tend to write a lot into that little space even if I know it will be a one-time swap or send. It’s my way of sending a piece of me beyond the postcard that will carry my thoughts and words across the oceans. So next time you’re tempted to load on the stickers, try writing more than you usually do. Think of what you would want to receive and read if this postcard was being sent to you instead.

Don’t be scared of that empty space. The words will come and before you know it, you’ve filled up the entire card. I hope these postcard writing prompts help you to write with more ease, next time you find yourself sitting down to write on a postcard.

Postcards and the Storyteller

Postcard Storyteller logo

I started collecting postcards back in my late teens when I joined the International Youth Service (IYS). That was in the age of actual snail mail, well before email and the internet. Yes, back in the day when people knew how to use rotary dial phones, and we had this thing called a rolodex instead of the contact list on your phone or email account.

IYS was a student penpal service, matching young people with their preference of country, gender and age. For a minimal fee which you paid in international money order, you sent a form to Finland and waited to get an address to write to. I found some friends with whom I corresponded with for many years. One in particular, Clara from Hong Kong, has been a friend even to this day. Although there was a long lull in our correspondence, we managed to find each other again a few years back, reuniting in Hong Kong in 2018. We started writing when she was about to end high school, and I was about to go into college. She was able to visit the Philippines several times as a tour escort for outbound groups from Hong Kong to Manila, which is how we managed to make so many memories together through the years. I would’ve attended her wedding if I could, but that was not meant to be. Years passed, she was widowed and now with a grown daughter, and thanks to Facebook, we found each other again.

I learned a lot about other cultures through the many friends I found via snail mail, and one of the favorite ways by which we introduced each other to our respective countries was through postcards. Even back then, I considered them my window to the world. I really couldn’t travel out of the country then but found myself visiting all these foreign lands through these postcards.

When I started collecting, I collected all the postcards that I was sent, sending back postcards printed by the likes of National Bookstore, Bookmark, Goodwill, etc. Back then, at least half a row of shelves, and not just a rack, was devoted to different types of postcards, alongside 4-5x as many greeting cards. This was when people found a greeting card indispensable to send greetings and messages to friends and loved ones for any and all occasions.

Vintage postcards in my collection

I have to admit that at the start, I bought the Philippine postcards purely to exchange and send out. It took me a few years before I realized I should be keeping a copy of each card I sent, even before I made a decision to leave for New York.

When that time came in my mid-30s, my postcards made it to New York with my then fiancée, in one heavy shoebox. Another shoebox travelled with my balikbayan box when I finally moved in 2000. That, along with my pencils, were the only collectibles I took. I gave away my hardbound books and coffee mugs. (The mug collection would later make a return as I got into Starbucks mugs, a passion to this day.)

As I started my new life in New York, the postcard collection grew. I joined Yahoogroups and billboard lists which published postcard collector’s names and mailing addresses and collecting interests. We had roundrobins and swaps and swaplists. I can’t remember when it was that I started drifting towards maps and lighthouses. As I learned about different collecting categories and meeting people who collected them, I found myself just fascinated by these two. There were specific group swaps organized with these cards in mind. My collection grew. During local travels and vacations overseas, I looked for the maps and lighthouses. We even incorporated visits to lighthouses during our road trips when we could. When I suffered two miscarriages as we were trying to have a baby, we retreated to Montauk to visit the Montauk lighthouse and spend the weekend to heal. But I will not get into my fascination with these two categories today. That’s for another time.

Vintage lighthouse postcards

I somehow ended up drifting away from postcards as life got busier when I eventually had my son in 2004. There’s a definite demand on time and resources when you get into actively trading postcards, and although I never stopped collecting, I slowly lost interest in direct or group swaps. It was also around this time that I started sending postcards home every time we travelled, this time addressed to my son. I would pick up postcards wherever we went, and chronicle our trip and I would send them from the places we visited. Even when we were visiting family in the Philippines, I tried to send back postcards to give him something to go back to when he was older. All this time, I made sure to keep one postcard in mint condition for my collection.

Then around 2012, I discovered Postcrossing.com which seemed to be an interesting way to get back into the hobby. There I met other Filipino collectors, most notable of whom was Raine, a much younger then student of Architecture in the same University where I took my prelaw degree. She and I shared not just a passion for postcards, but a love for personal art and art exchanges. Because of Raine, I got into Artist Trading Cards and found Swapbot and ATC trading groups. I went back into postcards with a newfound interest in Philippine postcards to help me reconnect with everything I left behind. Swapbot also got me back into active swaps with other like minded collectors of postcards and other items. By this time, I had refined my collecting interests to include Vintage and Modern Philippines, New York and Paris. The first two were the places I called home, and the third, my favorite city after two visits many years before.

Vintage Philippine postcards

I got back into postcard swaps and trades with the same gusto as I did before and continued to add to my collection.   I joined a postcrossing group of Filipinos on Facebook under the banner of Postcrossing Philippines.   I  even got to attend two “unofficial” meetups in Manila while continuing to meet with Raine whenever I came home through a period of 4 years or so.. until some personal challenges made me stop once again.

In the beginning of 2020, I had tried to make a more determined effort to destash and shed the things that I no longer needed or didn’t have a use for.  The Pandemic and the lockdown that began in March 2020 made me look at my collection and I decided eventually, that the best way to trim it down to what I really wanted, was to go back to trading or swapping in postcard groups.

I started again in September, but the global slowdown of mail hampered my effort.  I picked up in November and December and have been back since.  I started an instagram account dedicated to postcards and my growing collection, under the handle “postcard_storyteller”.  I believe that every postcard is a way to tell a story, and I have a lot of those stories to tell.  Beginning with this one, and then some.

To date, I have also created a Youtube channel under the same handle and plan to produce more videos about the hobby.  I have joined a few other groups to widen my swapping circle.  All of those are stories for another time.  For now, it’s just me announcing to the world that I’m back, once again.  I don’t think my “return” will be complete without dedicating a portion of the blog to this newfound return to postcards, so let’s start off with this.  Here’s to more postcards heading my way, and heading out into the world to the homes of like minded souls who look through the same window to the world.

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.