A Beautiful Handful: Received from Canada, China, Taiwan, and the United States

Love this batch!  Working clockwise-ish from the top left:

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The “Thirsty Beaver” seems to have come from a beer box, and is part of a swap-bot “chunk-o-cardboard” trade–one of my favorites!  The sender, from somewhere near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, tells me my toy photography inspired her to take a toy out on the beach for a photo shoot.  I love that!

The dessert dumplings came to me as part of a Postcrossing Forum trade called “anime-wishlist tag,” in which one person is to send an anime card, the next something from the previous poster’s wish list, etc.  My wish list included Asian foods, and so here we are.  It came to me from Fuzhou, China, and the sender tells me:

“This is yuanxiao 元宵.  We eat them in the Lantern Festival 元宵节.  It’s the special food for the festival…I like Chinese food, especially dumplings 饺子 and noodles 面条.  How about you?”

Oh, yes!

Those beautiful spotted jellies, on a card from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, were sent to me from Davis, California.  This was for a swap-bot “what are you reading” trade, and she said she is reading The Goldfinch for book club this month, and she is not far enough in yet to be grabbed by it. Now, the book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2014, but a prize sticker on a book is by absolutely no means any guarantee that a person is going to find it enjoyable.  There are many prize-winners I just love, but I’ve got to say that this blurb:

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

…makes my eyes roll so hard that my head sounds like a billiard room!

The card’s sender also tells me that she is “listening to Balducci’s Last Man Standing–THAT grabs you!

I love that “Snoopy and his friends” card, which came to me from Taoyuan City, Taiwan, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum “Snoopy/Peanuts” tag.  Peanuts cards are tough to get here in the U.S.; in fact the only ones I have to send–one of which I used to send out in this tag trade–I bought in Bangkok, Thailand at the Charlie Brown Cafe!  And I would be happy to go there & buy some more. Don’t know why there are not postcards to be found generally here, but it does seem that the bigger market for an expanded array of Peanuts goods is outside the U.S.

Lastly, there is that beautiful scenery from Gulangyu Islet in China’s Fujian province.  Be sure to make the image large so that you may see what’s going on.  It’ probably not good that a hole seems to have been blasted through that mountain–but I do think I’d enjoy taking that sky ride on through! This card came to me through a regular Postcrossing draw, from a sender in “Tianjin, a beautiful city in China.”

Stamps!

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Cake, Kitty, Consciences & the Coast: Sent to China, Czech Republic, Russia, and Taiwan

The first two of my outgoing cards are for Postcrossing Forums tags; the second two are in traditional Postcrossing draws.

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The Pinocchio card goes to Shanghai, China, part of a Postcrossing Forum Disney tag trade.  A new Disneyland is scheduled to open in Shanghai this year; I’m wondering if this Postcrosser is excited about it–and if she’ll have to wait in insanely-long lines!  I told her my favorite Disneyland rides are Space Mountain & Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride–and not necessarily in that order.

The cake is going to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in a Postcrossing Forum food package trade. This is a panel from a box of Softasilk cake flour, and I told the recipient I keep thinking of making this “Deluxe Devil’s Food Cake,” but with a cream cheese frosting rather than the almond extract-laced frosting recipe printed on the box.  Can’t stand almond extract.

Now for the regular Postcrossing draws.  What two countries came up?   Czech Republic and Russia!

Jenisov, Czech Republic is the destination of that Morro Bay card.  The recipient said he enjoys “sending and receiving all types of postcards except of fairy tales and stars.  I really like nature scenes and landscapes from your country and city views or aerial views, too. I like castles.”  Since he only wrote about the cards he wanted (and he does go beyond what I shared) rather than about himself, I didn’t have a lot to write about, but I did manage to go on about why I enjoy the Morro Bay area.

Kitty comes last, and is headed for a Postcrosser in Enem, Russia. She says, “I live in south of Russia.I like history and different cultures. And I like to travel too. I will like any card you send me!” She hasn’t done a lot on Postcrossing yet, so there are not a lot of “favorite” card images to guide me, but one of the few there is a cat, so–kitty with beads.

Water-related fun: sent to Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, & the United States

Apropos of nothing, let me share that I am re-watching “Spider-Man 3” as I log this, and it may actually be far worse than I remember it–and I remember it as being an awful mess.

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The first card is my one regular Postcrossing draw this time around.  It’s the view of Morro Bay, California, and it goes to Berlin, Germany. The recipient says she loves “…to be outside and roam in nature whenever the weather allows it.”  While some people have very specific lists of cards they want & do not want, this user writes:

“…I don’t have special wishes. I’m glad to share a piece of your life, so just pick a motif you would also like to receive and write whatever you would like to tell me.  I’m always happy to get an insight on people’s lives around the world, and I’ll be glad to hear from you!”

I told her about how I enjoy the beautiful nature in & around Morro Bay, and some of the things she might be able to see, were she to visit.

The flying fish are going to Decatur, Alabama, for a swap-bot “what are you reading?” trade.  Since I am still making my way through the last book I wrote about here, I won’t mention it again!

The next two cards are going out on tag trades via Postcrossing Forum.  The first card–a boy & his dogs at the beach–is headed for Kasukabe, Japan, as part of a “USA-Asia” tag.  There is a bit of this Postcrosser’s profile that made me feel she might enjoy this card:

“I like to see the beautiful scenery. But, there is no experience of traveling abroad. So, I want to see the beautiful scenery of the country in which you live. I love manga! “

The last card goes to Hong Kong, in an “anime/manga” tag. The person I tagged had written a list of anime/manga likes that included Crayon Shin-chan 蠟筆小新–and there he is, in all of his (very typical) glory.

Beasts surrounded by coded speech: Received from Germany, Hong Kong, and Russia

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The eerie scene with the blue-glowing trees came my way thanks to a Postcrosser near Düsseldorf, Germany.  Parts of her message are very mysterious: “Music is important for me.  It makes me more.”  Wha’?  And then there is the closing line: “Enjoy your life!”  This is, I think, the second time I’ve received a card bearing this send-off, and each time, I can’t help feeling it might be some sort of a thinly-veiled threat!

The sea lions are more welcoming. They are at an aquarium in Queensland, Australia; the card was purchased during a trip taken by a Postcrosser from Hong Kong, who sent me this card as part of a Postcrossing Forum “marine life and sea creature” tag trade. The sender is a university student who was actually doing some of her studies Down Under, and she tells me, “I enjoyed the time as it was very relaxing.  Unlike Hong Kong, we didn’t have a lot of homework.”

The final card is another Postcrossing Forum tag trade, this time one for food packaging.  What do you think this is?  Some sort of breakfast cookies?  The people are somewhat unkempt, and there seems to be some sort of coffee-for-cookies trade being attempted here… It comes from a sender in Surgut, Russia, who tells me, “at my place there live two cats.”  Uh-oh: more code?

Stamps!

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Magical Places: Sent to Austria & Turkey

I decided to draw two more addresses through Postcrossing.

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The view of Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, California is on its way to a couple in Graz, Austria, a city they write is the second-biggest in the country.  This pair portrays themselves as being curious about people & places, and wanting to see views of those places, so I decided to send them this card, what I tell them is by no means the best view of a very beautiful area.   I do have a few “view” postcards in my “to-be-sent” stack, but I chose this one because of current events: an immense underground oil pipeline rupture that has sent more than 100,000 gallons of beauty-marring muck out into a nine-mile stretch of coastline.  This is not just an environmental disaster; Santa Barbara County depends upon tourism–and who would want to go there right now?

The retro, scalloped-edge postcard depicting a bit of Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California goes to Istanbul, Turkey.  This Postcrosser enjoys cinema, theater and television, and says, I don’t have any particular cards that I would like to receive. Just it would be really nice if you write something about your city or your culture…” I thought she would enjoy reading a bit about this classic park–still alive & well–that served as inspiration for Walt Disney when he was planning a family attraction of his own.

Craftiness x 3: Received from Belgium and the United States

More reading & recycling (that might have come off differently than I meant it; read on, and you will understand)!

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Hey, I got another gigantic skull from Phoenix, Arizona–and I think this one might be even cooler than the last one!  It’s from the same swap-botter as before, in another chunk-o-cardboard trade.  The sender tells me, “this was actually a mask on a stick, but I knew it would be the perfect size for mailing.”  Love it!

The dog dancing over a colorful patterned background, that’s from Seatac, Washington, and it arrived via a swap-bot trade in which we were to share what we are currently reading by copying a page midway through the book.  My trading partner here did so by transcribing by hand page 50 of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  Not everyone has access to a printer, making participation in a swap like this something one really wants to do!  I wanted to share this homemade envelope, which I think is very cool; it’s legal-size, and when I peek inside, I can see her tracing lines, which makes me appreciate it even more.  The dog sticker is icing on the cake!

I love those hippos.  I was enthusing over them on another mail enthusiast’s blog, and before too long, I had a Chocohippo chunk-o-cardboard all my own!  She sent it to me from Geel, Belgium.  If I ever find myself in that country, I will have to try this product for myself!  By the way, this card follows in the theme of “what I’m reading:” the sender tells me she is working her way through Secret of the Dragon by Margaret Weis &Tracy Hickman.

Stamps, stickers & stuff!

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Received from Italy, Taiwan, and the United States

A trio of cards have been waiting to be posted here:

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The first, and my favorite of the three, is that illustrated card, which came via Postcrossing, and was sent to me from New Taipei City, Taiwan.  The sender writes:

“I’m glad to introduce my favorite place, Jioufen, in Taiwan.  Long long time ago there were only nine families in Jioufen.  Because “Jiou” means nine, so people call this place “Jioufen.”  In 1890, someone finds gold near Jioufen, and then a lot of people want to find gold in here.  But “now” you just can find many beverages and snacks in the streets.  If you have a chance you should experience by yourself.  Maybe you can find gold in Jioufen?”

If by “gold,” she means those delicious beverages & snacks, well, count me in!

Two bakers baking came to me from Sardinia, Italy, part of a Postcrossing Forum trade.  There’s a long note on the back, but I was not able to make out much of the handwriting.  I was able to understand that the bakers here are wearing a traditional costume (“which of course nobody wears anymore nowadays”), and are making a traditional bread made of durum wheat flour, made in  big round shapes, and is very thin and crisp.

Finally, the portrait came to me from the St. Paul, Minnesota area, part of a swap-bot “Zazzle Me” trade, in which swappers were to send any custom-printed cards.  I’ll note here that for the cards I’ve had made from my own photos, I did not use Zazzle. I have ordered a couple of t-shirts from that company, and the quality is just awful.  If I were to take a photo of the image transfers–and more importantly, the areas surrounding them–you would know what I mean. But this is off-topic. Back on!  The sender of this card tells me:

“I love Zazzle cards!  And I love old photos of Native Americans, they’re so fascinating!”

Stamps!

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Bringing in the Recycling: Received from Malaysia, South Africa, and the United States

Some very special, unique postcards just in–hewn from food packaging of one kind or another.

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These are presented in exact proportion to one another. The two postcards to the right are actual postcard-size. What I am saying is, that doggie card is HUGE. Spanning my hand wide along it, it reaches vertically from the tip of my middle finger, on down, well past my wrist bone. Horizontally, my thumb & pinkie do stretch beyond the edges, but I am unable to grasp the card without bending it. Huge, I say.

Did I mention that the card cut from the box of dog biscuits is huge?  Well, it is.  It was sent to me as part of one of my favorite swap-bot trades, the Chunk O Cardboard swap.  It arrived from Brakpan, South Africa–becoming not just my first card from that country, but also my very first from the entire African continent!  Wikipedia tells me that Brakpan is a gold & uranium mining town in the province of Gauteng, and that…

The name Brakpan was first used by the British in the 1880s because of a non-perennial lake that would annually dry to become a “brackish pan”.

Insert joke about California swimming pools here.

The “chonju Redginseng Tonis” card was sent to me from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, part of a food package postcard tag in the Postcrossing Forum.  The sender helpfully tells me,

“this is red ginseng tonis from Korea, it was bought by my mum from Dodam thermal massage bed company.  They have their branch in Malaysia though.”

Massage bed–so that’s what that other thing on the box is!  Couldn’t tell if it was some kind of odd remote control, or what!  Doesn’t look too relaxing, but maybe the ingestion of ginseng is what makes that happen for a person…

The wake-up workout comes to me from somewhere in the Jacksonville, Florida area, another swap-bot chunk o cardboard.  “Do you sudoku?,” asks the sender, “I can’t even spell it.”  In my thank-you message, I let her know that I used to sudoku quite a lot.  I did this because I’d heard it’s good for the brain, but then I finally stopped when I realized it was curtailing my reading time.

Stamps!  Some really nice ones, and if you’ll notice, there is a bird representing each of the three countries.

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Two Cats, & Two Other Things: Sent to Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, and Russia

I was down to only two cards traveling through Postcrossing, so out go four more:

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The four views of California are going to a guy in Bandung, Indonesia who expressed an interest in city skylines and in seeing “your great country through your postcard!” I wrote about which of these four cities I live closest to (SF), and which of the four I most enjoy (San Diego).

The book cover postcard is on its way to Krasnodar, Russia.  The recipient is a new Postcrosser, with absolutely nothing on her profile, just untouched.  It’s no help in choosing a card, finding something to write, or fulfilling the goal of relating in some minute way to a person in a faraway place. In expressing my frustrations with the profile-less, I must remember that my friend who introduced the concept of Postcrossing to me does not, herself, have a profile!  This means that if I were ever to be matched with her, I would have no idea what card to choose or what to write, right?

Tiger goes to Schonberger-Strand, Germany, to a young person who writes, “it doesn’t matter what Kind of postcard I will get. I will be glad about any postcard- surprise me. :-)” I know she will love this card, because it is wonderful.

The Jetoy cat will, with any luck, end up in Wageningen, Netherlands, with a Postcrosser who is a children’s book author–she has written over 55 books, which have been published in several languages!  She expressed an interest in Jetoy cat cards, and I happen to have them.

Face it, Tiger: You’re Surrounded by Mail Art! Sent to Finland and the United States

It’s a swap-botty kind of day…

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The three collaged cards are part of a “chunk ‘o’ cardboard” exchange, in which we need to do no more than mail out a simple scrap of cardboard cut to postcard proportions.  Sometimes I use these for my silly version of mail art, which may not be to others’ standards, either in artistic perspective or skill.

The top left card started life as a Kleenex box, onto which I slapped a bit of coffee label, and then characters from the packaging of pharmaceuticals, Kinder toys, and taro chips.  This lovely, layered piece of art goes to the swap’s host in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The set of two are cardboard scraps covered with a nighttime scene from a coffee canister, and then populated with Richard Scarry characters rescued from a worn-out, discarded library book.  They go to two cities in New York: New York City, and Liverpool.

The tiger is headed for Kokkola, Finland, part of a “Zazzle” swap in which we are to mail out cards we have had professionally printed (by whatever company) from our own images.  This, surely, will be one of the best cards ever sent out in that trade!