A newspaper collage postcard a day…among other things

Each day that I’ve been scouring the newspapers the last two weeks and more so the past few days that Manila has been under water, I’ve been searching for reporting/coverage of the storm. It seems like there’s just too much happening all over the world for us to land the front page, but we did get this picture in one of the inside pages of The New York Times on August 10, 2012.  (You can view my Flickr album of Newspaper Collage Postcards here.)

A former boss even e-mailed me, concerned about the family back home.  I appreciate gestures like that that show me I am more than just another minion (or ex-minion) to her.  Fortunately, the family in San Juan were spared.

The rains (although greatly reduced from what I imagine poured back home in Manila) have arrived in New York.  My rain boots have been put to good use — and I’m going to take out my light coat soon.

I was going to take tomorrow as a personal day but the past few days have been particularly busy with the visiting top banana I’ve been helping out, and my actual top banana is back even if only remotely — I haven’t cleared as much off of my to-do list as I had hoped to.  I wanted to do tomorrow as a “take care of ME” day, but I guess I can make it a “take care of ME” afternoon instead.

Tonight proved to be challenging and aggravating, but I’d rather leave it at that.  Even thinking of writing about it weighs heavily on me, but hey, it’s part and parcel of life here as I keep reminding myself.  It eventually got resolved, but the worries persist.  What’s important is that there’s peace where it matters — the boy is fine and happy and excited about the weekend, and I’m finally here sitting with enough time to attempt a coherent blog post.

[33] Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The Wall Street Journal,15Aug2012 #1
How lucky can I get? An article on Lighthouses in New York and a Lighthouse museum in the works as featured by the Wall Street Journal last August 15, 2012

I am making a trip to the post office tomorrow to mail out my postcards — a half dozen or so going to addresses in the Philippines thanks to a FACEBOOK group on Postcrossing called Postcrossing Philippines, Postcrossing itself and some postcard exchange groups.  (Postales/Postcards/CartolinePostcard Exchange, and Postcard Exchange) Of course the kababayans get a special treat.  I am trying to ship a special postcard postmarked, but I’m afraid that if I send the postcard as is, it will be filched in the mail.  So I’m going to try and be creative, taping something in front of it.  The front of the postcard is good to tape something via masking tape onto, so I think I can pull it off.  (Keeping my fingers crossed.)

It’s finally Friday again tomorrow.. =)  And then it’ll be Saturday and we’re going on a weekend trip.  Nothing far, but quite a treat.  No one can be more excited than the boy.

Email me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com if you’re interested to trade.  My postcard collection on Flickr can be found here.

Postcard talk

My heart has been heavy these days.  I received news about someone dear being terribly, terribly sick.  I’m not supposed to know, and the news almost made me cry when I read the e-mail.  The only thing that stopped the tears was the fact that I was in a very public place. I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer, acknowledged the message, but from there, my mind froze.

I feel so deeply saddened that while I was planning to write my friend, I have yet to pick up paper and pen since Sunday.  This even as I have immersed myself in postcard exchanges.

When I walk alone, or as I do my regular chores, the sadness envelopes my heart.  I think about how fragile life is and how we all live on borrowed time.  I think about the pain and anger I sometimes find myself immersed in.  I float in and out convincing myself everything is alright.  I wish..

We take so many things forgranted.  This morning as I walked out of the house, I caught sight of the muted sun, more like the moon, as the dark clouds started to cover it.  I started to reach for my camera but the clouds were much too fast.  I missed out on it.  It would’ve made for a good graphic for today’s post.

I haven’t been here in a while.  I’ve been busy.  I can only blog late at night or early in the morning, and it’s difficult when I have to make a deliberate effort to do it.  Tonight, I’m working off of a blogpost I started drafting yesterday in the bus, and I’m continuing writing it — while on the bus.  I can just vegetate and try to catch some shut-eye, but I feel bad that I haven’t written.

Postcards are being sent out.  I’m lucky there’s a post office a block away from where I work, and a nice walk from where I live.  I’m trying to manage my trading, and I’m getting into the swing of things again.  Not where the mail art is concerned, though.  I’m still a little shy about sharing my work but I’m trying to build a network over at IUOMA.

I’m continuing with the newspaper collage although I’m missing a few.  (They weren’t with the postcards in the office so I guess they’re back home.). One thing I like is that headlines here in the US tend to be distinct from newspaper to newspaper, unlike back in Manila where one headline is paraphrased in the next newspaper’s front page.  It seems like everyone’s buzzing about Ryan but in whispers.

(Almost 2 hrs on the road with traffic crawling through the rain.  Sigh.  This is one of those nights I wish I had full time househelp to take care of Angelo.  Not in America, though.)

Back to the postcards… I am trying Postcrossing out and have had 2 postcards reach their intended destination but I have yet to receive one.  I noticed there are a lot of Filipinos on the site and some have chalked up quite a record sending out postcards.  I am amazed and then I suddenly remember my boxes of postcards.  Guilty.  I really have to start listing those postcards which need to find a new home.

For one, I have around a dozen Star Trek postcards — to keep or not to keep?  I have more than a hundred Canadiana I need to “release”.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Canada but if they’re not maps and not lighthouses, they’re sitting untouched and unadmired in the darkness of a storage box.  And what about duplicate maps and lighthouses, most of which I picked up as spares to trade?

The stadiums are slowly going… (Can’t wait until they are all on their merry way.)  I am starting to sort out the unsorted postcards and will hopefully combine them with those sorted in boxes already.  A little at a time..

Midnight.  Time for bed.. and it’s another day.  Have to get that letter on its way to my friend.

Back to the old look, back to my postcards

Okay, I have to admit, I’m a creature of habit.  (Tapa all week long? I used to do that…)  I tried a different ‘look’ but it didn’t quite feel right, so I’m back to this layout.

Saturday morning.  I just sat down at 11:35 (finally!) after waking up close to 9am.  Ate breakfast in front of the TV and then proceeded to photograph more postcards.  (Photographing vs. Scanning? Photos work better for me, but I have to admit it takes some angling and set up.  I think I am getting the hang of it, though.)

In 10 minutes I have to prepare lunch for the mother-in-law. No cooking.  Just heating and fixing the portions.  I already made rice earlier this morning for the breakfast of the boys.  Another Saturday here.  I’m trying to decide if what I’m going to do next after the lunch is ready.  (The boy is bugging me about doing another video for “THE ANGELO REPORT” on the toys we got yesterday, but I told him I’m not taking a video of him in his pajamas.  That’ll have to wait for later before we leave for errands when he’s dressed appropriately.)

I’m trying to get him into postcard collecting but more to introduce him to the children back home (found a teacher in Bulacan with whom I’ll be trading postcards with and I’m trying to arrange for his students to write us), and hopefully help him improve his handwriting and writing skills.  Of course I know half the effort will come from me, but I want to broaden his horizons, so to speak, and get in him touch with his Filipino heritage beyond his family.  I am trying to sort through my collection to get rid of duplicates as well, and I didn’t realize that I had traded away a lot of the ordinary New York postcards which are no longer available.  I guess because I could easily pick up those postcards off of the souvenir stores in Manhattan, I figured I could always have access to them.  But the landscape keeps changing and even the postcard stocks do.  There are some artsy postcards I purchased in specialty shops like bookstores, and I don’t know if those are still available.  Learning from that experience, I’m now setting aside one copy of each postcard I buy in multiples to trade with.  I managed to save quite a few, but I remember quite a number I wish I had kept copies of.

I’ve managed to keep the postcards in mint condition by keeping them in hard shoe boxes, and I’m trying to get to the map postcards sorted by states to begin with so I can upload them and people can see which postcards I DO NOT have.  Since I started collecting in 1985, I’ve amassed quite a collection, in different shapes and sizes, and even New York, believe it or not, has at least 4 map postcards out there, not counting the Manhattan map from the local Disney Store.  (I’m not even sure it’s still the same map available there since they’ve moved locations.  Have to check that one out one of these days.)

Long Island Map (Showing Montauk Lighthouse)
When I see a postcard rack, my eye has been trained to look for map postcards right away, be it here in New York, in the newstands of Paris, at the airports we stop or land in, or in the souvenir shops in New York and elsewhere.  I always grab more than one because there are a lot of map postcard collectors out there, and since it’s a very particular collecting interest, we usually want a map postcard in return.  During my last 4 trips home, I’ve also picked up postcards of Boracay and other provinces of which they produced combined map and multiviews postcards with.

Lighthouse postcards, my second main collecting interest, are a little trickier to come by because they are normally not available in land locked states or areas where they are not close to the sea.  Being from the East Coast, though, I am lucky that even New York has its share of lighthouses, even if the postcards are not available in the city.   In fact when we travel close to one, we try and make it a point to visit the actual lighthouse and take pictures.  The good news is that there are a lot of lighthouse postcard collectors who will swap for them as well.  I have had the good fortune of visiting and taking pictures of at least two of the most famous lighthouses in the country (Montauk Point Lighthouse in Long Island, and Cape Neddick or the Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine) and I am going to attempt to produce my own postcard using my photography.  (Another post being drafted on that one.)  Of course, most postcard collectors prefer the commercially printed ones.  So I’m very happy to have come across mail art and found a group of people in the IUOMA who are all into handmade or privately produced postcards.  (And yes, I found kababayans there, too.)

Mail Art Watercolor Background 10
Watercolor on Gesso postcard

Mail Art.  I have always been awed by how creative people can get, and I try.  More for personal therapy and as a ways of communicating, but I try.  The reason I emphasize this is I am completely bowled over by the talent of the people in that group.  I am looking forward to start swaps in that area, but I am trying to come up with something decent to exchange with.  As it happens, there is a minimalist group for which my existing set of watercolor backgrounds on gesso would work well with.

Here’s another interesting collecting genre: FREECARDS or ADVERTISING cards, and I have a ton of them.  Back when I started, I received them from Singapore, Europe and of course, the United Stated.  There was a time a local company in Manila attempted to get into the business but they didn’t quite click there.

FREECARD: New York City Ballet 2003 Winter Season

They are literally FREE and are picked up from racks in cafes or stores and are meant to advertise the subject of the card.  I have seen less and less of these in New York and am wondering if they are still around.  I keep only one of each and are now using the freecards as backing or postcard base for my mail art.  I am NOT trading them right now and will keep what I have as is, but I know what a collecting interest means to a postcard collector.  I’ve started a Flickr set to showcase the more interesting ones but not all are available for trade.  Unfortunately, this is not a priority in terms of documenting what I have in the collection so you’d have to e-mail me if you are interested in them.

If you are interested to receive one of my own postcards or wish to trade, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com

I have a general album of POSTCARDS AVAILABLE FOR TRADE OR EXCHANGE which will change according to what is available.  The photographing and uploading is taking a lot of time so I am not going as fast as I hope I could, so if you are looking for a particular postcard, please e-mail me.  I am looking to get rid of a few boxes of postcards that are not within my collecting interests, and I might have something you are looking for.

Happy postcard collecting!

My weekend has begun

My weekend officially started when I walked up to the house at just after 4pm.  Whoa.  Yes, around 4:30pm.  At that point, I had already spent half a day in the office, bought lunch (and postcards) in the pouring rain for the little guy, and then stopped by Toys R’Us as I had promised.  The bus took a while to come but come it did, but a half dozen stops before the house, the boy started to feel sick so we got off.  Too far to walk.  We waited for the next local bus.  Thank God, the sun was shining on our side of the city.  The only thing was it would drop us off a quarter more of the distance we would’ve had to walk from the bus stop to the house had we not gotten off the first time.  But — I had no choice.

I had a headache myself by the time I put my bags down.  I crept onto the  bed, took out the laptop and answered queries and messages about the postcard exchanges.  I’m happy. =)  Half a dozen postcards on their way out.  And I even found a Pinoy teacher trading postcards from Bulacan.  A new friend.

It’s been a productive day but I’m tired and the boy is bugging me silly. =-)

More Newspaper Collage Postcards

[09] Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The Wall Street Journal 03Aug2012 #4
Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The Wall Street Journal 03Aug2012 #4

I’m really enjoying creating my Newspaper Collage postcards.  I have around 6 works in progress in the hopes of stocking up on items to trade — but with the weekend edition papers in, I think I’ll have to limit myself to 4-6 postcards per edition.  The good news is that I finally got the hang of modpodging the collage to flatten and “seal” it, and I did the “pressing” correctly this time by inserting the collage postcard between a “card” of parchment paper.

They also don’t take a lot of time.  I can quickly go through one complete edition with all the sections intact, pick out backgrounds, headlines and then assemble it in a matter of minutes.  The finishing takes less than half an hour which I would have to do at home.  (Still owe on the “how-to”, I know.)

So for the latest four I posted on my Flickr account set Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcards, I used a Mod Podge  Glue, Matte Finish and applied it with a make up sponge I got from the dollar store as a set.  Very fine application which was just perfect.  I used approximately 3-4 coats on each postcard and it came out nicely, except that the matte finish seems to have muted the intensity of the print on the original clipping.  But the upside was, it looked flattened and sealed the edges of the clippings.   Unfortunately I’ve run out of the Mod Podge Gloss Finish so I can’t experiment right now, but I plan to get more over the weekend and be able to compare the finish I will want to use.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing uploading my postcards a few at a time to my Flickr Collection, although I haven’t quite gotten to the section of duplicates available for trade.  I’m also trying to apply to postcard groups for future exchanges.  Sorting through them has also given me a chance to start taking stock of what I have in the collection, and the duplicates I have for trade.

When I buy postcards, I usually buy at least one extra postcard (or two) of the same more so when I know of a particular trading partner who collects that type of postcard specifically.  (For example, I have quite a stash of stadium postcards but I don’t personally collect them.)

I also do duplicates of maps.  I have a New York map which, unfortunately, is drawn and not photographic.

You’ll have to pardon the quality of the photos of my postcards.  As they are meant to represent the collection and are not really “the collection”, I’ve tried my best to take decent pictures, but definitely not printable or enlargeable.  The idea is to create a body of photos showing what I have.

The captions for each photo in Flickr are the captions at the back of the postcards.

Again, if you are interested to receive one of my newspaper collage postcards, art postcards, viewcards of New York, or just want to start a general trade, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com.  I will do postmarked exchanges or sets in an envelope.


Postcards and Mail Art: Newspaper Collage

I’m not feeling too well today.  I don’t know if it’s the heat or just my present medical condition, but I am really feeling weak.  I did manage to do errands with the boys and get home in one piece — and even pull together a decent dinner for all of us, but I’ve mostly done everything tonight while in bed.  (Like right now.)

So yes, I’ve started putting up some of my postcards in my Flickr account which you can view by going to this collection which, as of tonight, contains 5 sets: Lighthouses, Maps, Modern New York, Americana and Mail Art.   I have a subpage on Mail Art Backgrounds which I just uploaded but I am not including that in the collection for now.   I haven’t quite figured out how I will identify the postcards that I have duplicates to trade with — but that can wait for next time.  I have a long, long way to go, but at least I got it started.  (FINALLY!)

I’ve also put up a Postcard Exchange page (see link on the sections corner up on the left or on top of the page) which is still a work in progress.

Three days ago, during the course of my bloghopping, I chanced upon some art blogs which mentioned art postcard swaps which totally piqued my curiosity.  (One particular postcard swap I would’ve loved to participate in would have been Liberate Your Art 2012 from Kat Eye Studio but sign ups are already closed. )   End result was I found myself toying with the idea of creating newspaper collages on old postcards or just about any other paper I can cut into a 4.25″ x 6″ piece.

I was so inspired I created four pieces right away during my lunch hour but which I totally ruined by applying mod podge to later at night, then trying to flatten them by pressing them between the pages of a book I weighted down with something heavy.  End result was that the mod podge caused some of the “white” of the book page to adhere to the postcard, ruining it.

Newspaper Collage on Postcard gone wrong
Newspaper Collage on Postcard Gone Wrong

Well, it’s a learning experience for me.  As you can see, I’m Michael Phelps crazy (again).. just as I was 4 years ago.

As a postcard collector, I think it’s a novel idea to pull together part of the newspaper edition of the day in one postcard or several, then keeping them for posterity or to trade.  I make sure, though, to include the newspaper banner or part of it (which, in the case of my first batch, came from the August 1, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal.)  You will see a full “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL” and the full day and date in the piece.  These are all headlines and graphics and part caption.

My next set of collages done yesterday were more photo-centered, and this time, I made sure the photo credits were likewise included.  Or at least those that I can pull.  (I seem to have forgotten to clip the credits for the photo background but I will try to remedy that if I can still find a spare copy of this issue.  I managed to make a set of four from the August 1, 2012 edition of the New York Times this time around.)    Still Michael Phelps crazy but he’s the big news in the papers these days.

[4]  Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - NYTimes 01Aug2012 #4

Right now I’m still trying to decide if I will still try and do modpodge on this one, add other embellishments or elements to it, or maybe paint in some color?  If I do add some form of sealant or glaze on top, I will make sure to flatten it between sheets of parchment paper to avoid any part of the book page from adhering to the piece.  (Lesson learned!)

When the collages are ready, I intend to offer them for trade or just to send out to anyone interested.  Or I might just keep them and instead offer up photo print postcards instead to trade.

How-tos to follow via GothamChick.com.  I brought home three copies of Friday’s Wall Street Journal but had gotten busy with the watercolor backgrounds I did instead.  (More on that in another post.)

Art Postcards: Watercolor Backgrounds

Back to my Postcards

I have been collecting postcards for almost 20 years now, but my postcard collecting has been half-hearted the last couple of years.  I’ve mostly bought postcards from our trips, making a point of sending it back to us with inscriptions of the things we had done.  I have altogether stopped trading.

I am hoping to streamline my postcard collection to my main collecting interests which are: anything Filipino (vintage and new), anything New York (vintage and new), lighthouses, maps and now, art postcards or mail art.  I also have quite a collection of freecards or advertising cards from the Philippines, New York and other countries, but I just want to keep what I have and dispose of my duplicates or maybe make use of them as backing for altered postcards or mail art.

I have attempted to catalogue or upload my postcard collection to the web several times in the past, but finding an acceptable “format, theme or stylesheet” has been problematic so I gave up on that.  Well maybe it’s time to revisit the idea again.  I am seriously considering putting up a separate site altogether and maybe start trading again.  After all, I have a PRO Flickr account so might as well make the most of it.

One reason I had stopped actively trading was because I had fallen behind on some trades before I stopped.  I would like to make good on them but I have lost track.  Motherhood had gotten in the way, but I’ve always believed that I can always try to make up for my failure to make good on an exchange.  (Please e-mail me and let me know.)

Meanwhile, I’m so happy to have found that there are a lot of trading groups om Facebook.  Looks like the post office is getting some help with these snail mail trades.

Black and White Postcard of the Brooklyn Bridge

I have found postcard collecting very rewarding, more so when I was young and not yet able to travel.  I always said that postcards provided me a window to the world beyond the shores of the Philippines.

So I guess you can say I’m back to postcard trading, with the additional collecting interest of mail art or art postcards.

If you are interested to receive a postard from New York city, one of my art postcards (to trade for one of your own), or if you are interested to exchange postcards within my collecting interests or if you want  any of the postcards I am trying to weed out of my collection, please e-mail me with your mailing address IN THE FORMAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN ON THE POSTCARD at postcardmailbox@gmail.com.

A Passion for Lighthouses

Cross posted on Pinay New Yorker on Friendster

Montauklighthouse_2 I can’t really remember when it was that I started to develop a fascination for lighthouses.  I’ve been a postcard collector for 2 decades now and I guess it started from the lighthouse postcards that I received.  Back in the beginning, I collected anything and everything from outside the Philippines.  I regret now that I never paid enough attention to the Philippine postcards not knowing I would eventually leave Manila to live in another part of the world.  Isn’t it ironic that I am now collecting Philippine postcards?  — even you’re everyday run-of-the-mill postcard found in National Bookstore

When I finally settled down in New York in 2000, I set about expanding my postcard collection and found myself concentrating on maps and lighthouses.

In the five years I’ve been here, I’ve confined my collecting interest so far as US postcards are concerned to the two — and I’ve built a sizeable collection from the 50 states, although not all have their lighthouses.  (Only coastal states of course have the benefit of having lighthouses dotting their coastlines.)  I have been trying to put them all in one website but have almost given up on doing that due to the size of the collection.  I’ve been collecting off and on but have always had a fascination for them.

One particular favorite of mine is the Montauk Lighthouse located in the nothernmost tip of Long Island, a 2 hour drive away from New York City.  I first visited Montauk in April 2003 after my second miscarraige and after I got laid off work when my CFO was let go due to job elimination.  It was Alan’s way of trying to cheer me up — and we had a lovely time although it was still chilly in the beginning of spring.  Since then, I’ve been back only once but it’s just a drive away.

Alan has given me lighthouse calendars and friends who know sometime surprise me with something lighthouse related.  Whenever we visit a place with a lighthouse, we try to make it a point to go and visit even just the grounds if the lighthouse is not available for viewing.

Montauk is a lighthouse collector’s delight because it has been converted into a museum and the grounds are just breathtaking.  Imagine yourself standing on a cliff at the edge of New York and all you see beyond is the blue sea.  It’s also one of the more popular lighthouses amongst lighthouse postcard collectors and is much sought after to complete collections.

And here’s a bit of trivia for lighthouse afficionados out there: did you know that the Statue of Liberty is actually a lighthouse?  I learned that from an old friend from postcard collecting, Wes Babko ko shared this bit of trivia with me a few years back.

There’s certain magic for me when I think about lighthouses.  Today is a good day to think of magic and favorite things.  I remember standing inside the Montauk lighthouse and looking out into the horizon.  It’s not just breath-taking, it’s awe inspiring.  That’s me and my fascination for lighthouses.