Food & Toons Make the World Go ‘Round: Received from China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, & the U.S.

What a spread–I love these cards!


Budda Jumped Over the Wall from Taiwan, thanks to the Postcrossing Forum “Far East to America” tag trade.  The sender writes:

“This is one of my favorite food.  I really love it, but didn’t eat it often, just when new year or some important party just have this food, I thought because it’s not so cheap.”

I’d love to stroll through that marketplace at the bottom of the card!

I guess you can’t tell from the scan, but that Snoopy card has the most amazing 3-Dish effects I think I’ve ever seen!  The action seems to be taking place on at least 7 different planes.  It’s from a post pal in Tokyo, Japan, and she tells me:

“I’m in Tokyo Skytree now.  And I write you this special postcard at Postal Museum Tokyo.  I can study history of Japanese postal like stamps, postboxes and their works.  How interesting!  After this, I’ll go up the Tokyo Skytree.  I’m excited but it would be scared.  Might as well!  I have to.”

Today I Learned there is something called the Tokyo Skytree–and that it’s the tallest tower in the world, and also the primary television & radio broadcast site for Japan’s Kantō region.  I also learned it’s home to a Pokémon store!

I love Jay Ward cartoons, so that fairy from Rocky & Bullwinkle’s Fractured Fairy Tales made me audibly gasp when I saw her card in my mailbox!  It’s a pleasant surprise from a friend in San Francisco.

WHOA–the Tezuka Osamu-ful postcard is incredible–so many of his characters, all in one scene!  It’s also from my post pal in Tokyo.

The card next to it also sports a Japanese character, but the card is from Israel, thanks to a swap-bot “think before you send” trade, in which we were to tell our partner about the image on the card.  The sender writes:

“So as you probably know, the character on the cover is No-Face from ‘Spirited Away.’  No-face is also called in Japanese ‘Kaonashi,’ meaning ‘Faceless.’  Its Japanese name is also on the cover!”

The green folk with the little durians are from a friend in Singapore who is both a toy addict & toy photographer.  What a place to sit!

Finally, one more bit of food, this time from Chongqing, China.  It’s via a Postcrossing Forum USA-Asia tag, and the sender tells me about the food:

“The postcard shows the most famous food in Chongqing, hot pot!  You can see from the pot, the middle is without pepper, it’s for people who don’t eat that hot.  And the edge is filled with pepper.”


What’s your favorite card here?

Stamps, postmarks, & stickers:


500 Stamps & a Bottle of Tums: Sent to Canada, U.K., & the U.S.

Right now, I’ve got those swap-bot nerves like you wouldn’t believe.  Why don’t I just quit & take off the pressure?  Today, it’s 2 swaps off to 3 people; I’ll save the bigger deal for last.

First off, it’s a trade of 5 free bookmarks.  “Free bookmarks” are the kind of book marks you get for free.  I decided to make my own envelopes; let’s look at those now.


The top package is going to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the bottom one goes to Auburndale, Novia Scotia, Canada.  Since the swap rules called for 5 book marks, I put in 7.  And some other stuff.



I know I’d give myself the “extra special” heart for this, but I always put in the effort, and always give the people sending me swaps the benefit of the doubt unless they take it away from themselves forcefully.


Now, the OTHER swap, oh, the nerves!  This one is a “profile-based small package swap.” We were to use our partner’s profile as a guide, and send at least 4 items, at a value of at least 8 dollars.   I printed out this person’s profile–oh, she’s in Crowthorne, Berkshire, United Kingdom–and read it, and re-read it, and made a couple of notes.  And then I spent more time shopping than I ever, ever do.  Got 4 different things, at 3 different stores, and then ended up shopping online for a 5th thing!  She likes bunnies & owls, and green tea, and wide tape…


And then I shipped it off.  That’s $23ish, right there!  THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY!


The postal clerk always says she likes my packing tape.

So I hope everyone loves everything, and that they love me, too, and give me a good grade, The End.


You Go Away for a Few Days, and…Received from Canada, China, & Germany

I took a nice elongated weekend trip, and now that my mail service has restarted, a lot of postcards have come in through the slot!  A nice welcome home.


Manatees!  I love those guys.  It was mailed to me from a swap-botter in Sandwich, Illinois (a small town, she says about 60 miles away from Chicago).  She tells me:

“I visit Florida often to see family.  I’ve been able to see a number of aquariums and spotted dolphins and very small sharks in the waters.  Oh and alligators in the pond behind my mom’s home and on the golf course.  My favorite is the manatee.  This postcard and many others were available at Manatee Park in Fort Myers.  We spent an afternoon watching them come and go.  It was February and when the water gets cold they find warm water in an inlet.  The park is a natural habitat with viewing areas, educational events and they have a microphone in the water and speakers to listen from the viewing spots.

Sounds so nice!  I would love to see manatees in their natural home.  Something else I’d love to see in their natural home is orcas; that beautiful card in the middle is from Melissa in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, who tells me the cetaceans are regular visitors to the area, and she was once able to see a pod.  I gasp internally thinking about the idea of seeing such a thing.  I wish all orcas were so free!

A third card I love is that Goofy art at the top right.  It’s from Altenburg, Germany, and is my one regular Postcrossing card received this time around.  Check below for the cool stamps & washi tape!  The sender tells me about where she lives:

“…Altenburg, a beautiful little big town with 164,000 inhabitants in the north of Germany. I’m 43 years old, and my motto is: give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day in your life!”


The next 2 cards came from the same person, though she wrote them about a month apart!  She is in Yangzhou, China, and she sent the cards via Postcrossing Forum trades.  The one at bottom left, with the three walking girls, is dated  July 16, when she wrote:

“We are having summer holiday now!  With countless of homework to do, of course.  And I only have to read for summer holiday.  We are to go back to school to have extra classes coz we are in grade 3 in senior school.  We’ve to prepare for the high school graduate exam in advance, it’s like SAT in your country.”

On August 24, on the garden card at bottom write, she told me,

“(This is) a Chinese-style garden in Hangzhou, just where the G20 this year takes place.  But I think the Chinese gardens in my hometown–Yangzhou–are the most graceful, the representative of which is Slender West.  Have you heard of it?

I had not!

Finally, at the bottom middle, is that interesting food!  It’s another Postcrossing Forum trade, this time from Dalian, China.  The sender tells me,

“On this postcard is a traditional Chinese food…  ‘Rolling Donkey’, haha!  Maybe in English, it’s called ‘Ludagunr.’  I’m not sure.  It’s glutinous rice rolls with sweet bean flour.  It’s very delicious!  Hope you’ll like it!”

This is something I’m not familiar with–and now I will have to seek it out!

Stamps, washi tape, & stuff:


Cute li’l warthog!

This entire thing is absolutely horrible, am I right? Out of & in to Canada

So, we’ve been talking about those swap-bot nerves, and my latest bout, incurred while preparing a swap I’ve sent off to India.  Always, always going for that extra-effort heart, always somewhat in fear I won’t even be awarded the “you at least did what you were supposed to do” rating of 5…

Well, I’ve received my goods from the person who drew my name in this “flat envie envelope of fun” swap, and…WOW.  In from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada:


Holy cats.

An envelope with an elephant; address labels; postcards; and that booklet–about the size of a passport, but with many, many more pages (more than 20 in all), full of fun & wonder.  Let’s take a few peeks:


Yes, there were yoga-tastic pandas throughout the thing, but I did not count them; I was just way too overwhelmed!



Cool! Hey, what’s with these tiny Polaroid shots, is this a thing?

Another photo of another photo:


I want to rescue it from its landfill, I do.

This page made me gasp:


I don’t believe in dressing up animals, but these stamps are amazing.

And then there’s this scene, depicting ME:


This entire thing is absolutely horrible, am I right?

I mean, clearly this is full credit & an extra credit heart; she obviously spent HOURS on this package.  And then there’s that stuff I was so proud of, the stuff I just linked back to several photos ago.  I mean, I did go over & above, but THIS person, she went over & above, and a Disneyland fireworks show!

I was so overwhelmed, I practically babbled in my swap-bot thank-you message.  She’d asked a lot of funny little questions in her book, and she’d left a return address on her envelope, so I figured the decent thing to do would be to send off a little “thank you” mailing.  Nothing to compete, but I should at least try to go a bit for the overall spirit.  What was going to be one postcard, turned into 2 cards, an envelope & a tattoo.  I’ll show most of everything but the tattoo, simply because I forgot to take a shot of it (it’s Snoopy).  Here we go–2 postcards…


She likes silly, odd postcards; I give her silly, odd postcards.




I used to actually do this kind of thing.  It’s been decades–pre-internet, and this post is already too long, so let’s not go time-traveling now.

…in an envelope I (had previously) made…



…and envelope that also had a backside:


Just don’t show the lady in India the mail I got; she may think I done her wrong.

So anyhow, I think I may have to take something for my swap-bot nerves.



I Loved Dennis the Menace (U.S.) Comic Books, Though: Sent to China, Germany, Netherlands, & the U.S.


Mostly Postcrossing draws this time, except for the poodle-y thing, which is for a swap-bot trade. The recipient is in Mechanicsville, Maryland, and said she likes cards with “cute little dogs.”

Oh, why, oh why, am I still tangling myself up in swap-bot?  Those nerves!  And you know what I did a couple of days ago?  I signed up for 4 or 5 more swaps!  Oof!  Let’s move on…

Tintin & Snowy ran off to Capelle aan den IJssel, Netherlands, to someone who has been Postcrossing for over 6 years!  He said he likes Tintin, so there we go.  As a kid, I used to receive a magazine that serialized translated Tintin, and though I think I found the art attractive enough, I think I barely read any of it at all.  These days, I see collections as I browse library shelves, but still–no, I haven’t caught up on the stuff.  Should I?

The California map card I sent to the Postcrosser I drew in Nettetal, Germany, arrived today.  He had said in his profile he likes map cards, I sent him one, and he tells me, “thank you for your cool map card it is new in my collection” — dang, the lack of punctuation & capitalization, I would have sworn he’s a product of AMERICAN schools!  His profile was actually a real chore.  It was two short lines about himself that were written well enough, but then he went on to 30 lines of expired cards!

What is the point?

Pekkle is traveling to a Postcrosser in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.  She was interested in Hello Kitty, and he was the closest I had.  Well, I like the card.

Check out them stamps:


Ugh, Those Swap-Bot NERVES! Sent to India

I swear, I don’t even know why I’m still on swap-bot.  It’s very likely because of the occasional swaps of postcards created from recyclables–I really have a lot of fun with those–but the whole rating system, and some of the member profiles, really make me nervous.  And of course there’s the whole heart thing.

No, I’ve never been rated less than a 5 (the only possibilities, from best to worst, are 5, 3, and 1), but the system scares me like the idea of clowns under the bed.

And what have I done?  I signed up not for a mere postcard swap, but for something called the “flat envie of fun.”  EEK!  These “select stuff for your assigned partner” swaps contain more minefields than a straightforward postcard swap.  Let’s look at the details:


Okay, well, I know I would like to receive a flat envie envelope full of fun.  No tea, of course–I choose & buy my own tea, but tea bags seem to be a big thing with swap botters. I do buy & accumulate li’l fun things to share with friends & swap partners, so this should be easy!

But I’d obviously forgotten about the last time I entered a trade like this, and the envelope I received caused me so much trauma, I never even shared it here.  The person read my profile–she demonstrated by saying “I know you didn’t want any tea…”  And you already know the very next word in that sentence was “but.”  Yes, there was tea, and I think confetti, and a bunch of crap so mysterious as to not even be regiftable for the friends to whom I love sending stuff & nonsense.  I fed almost everything in that envelope (or was it absolutely everything in that envelope?) to the trash can.  And no, I certainly did not award a heart, which I customarily choose to do by default.

Let me shake that off & get back to this trade.  Okay, so as I was saying, I thought this envie of fun thing should be easy!

And then I was assigned my partner–she lives in New Delhi, Delhi, India–and read her profile. And I got to the “uh-oh” line:

“DISLIKES : please do not send me these… Kiddie stuff Cartoon stuff ( stickers, stationary etc) I’ve outgrown it long ago!”

Oh, good gawd, I hope I never grow so old!  Well, this sucks all the “fun” out of the “envie full of fun!”  I had to take a few days’ break to regroup.

So what WOULD she like?  Uh, she mentioned Starbucks cards, anything from her Amazon wish list.  LOL.  Let’s look for flat stuff, within the intended parameters of this swap… well, she’s apparently big into papercrafting, & is interested in stationary/notecards, stickers, stamps–and yes, tea bags.  I was eventually able to cobble this assortment together for her:


Along the left, we have tiny note cards (the bottom 2 have envelopes.  You see the tea bags, stamps, and postcards (two that I actually think are nice, nothing from The Disappointassortment here, no).  The owl & the mermaid are two custom stickers from Seattle artists.

So, do you think I deserve a HEART, in addition to a full 5 rating?  I not only have 5 items–I have 5 different items, each of them in multiples!  I think even a grinch who hates wonderful things like “kiddie stuff” and cartoon characters should surely find something to enjoy here!

I stuck it all in this card, in which I wrote a friendly note:


…and then I addressed, reinforced, and stamped the thing:



And now, we wait.  With a bad case of those swap-bot nerves.

My First Missive to Land! A Postcard United Milestone

Whoa!  I signed up for Postcard United just about a week ago, and my first card has already arrived!  This message hit my in-box today:


Alright, Postcard United, lay off the looseness with the exclamation points.  I ought to charge you $5 for every extra one you use.  I wouldn’t mind the extra 20 bucks.


So I see that rather than Postcrossing’s “Hooray!” message, Postcard United sends a “Great News!!!” message.  I swear, I want to taze them for all of those exclamation points.  Jeez.

My first card to land traveled five days, that thanks to the fact that it went to a U.S. recipient (in Bethesda, Maryland).  I’d mentioned in my note to that person my surprise that we are assigned U.S. partners (in Postcrossing, you volunteer if you are willing for same-country duties).  In case you aren’t able to see the image, my fellow Potcard Uniter responded:

“I have gotten many US addressed through PU and PC–more from PU. Thank you for the cool card of the elephant seal! It’s always nice to receive cards from CA–I’m from San Jose. I wish you a great experience on PostcardUnited!”

So now, or quite soon, there should be a postcard out there winding its way toward me, eventually to be my very first card received via this new-to-me service.  I’ll keep you posted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


(Somebody, please taze me, and collect those extra punctuation marks, & take them to a no-kill shelter)

Going Heartless: Received from Canada, China, Indonesia, Ukraine, & the U.S.

Ooh, how about that top row?  I love those two cards!


The first card is from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and part of a swap-bot “Upcycled Cardboard” exchange.  The swapper writes:

“I enjoy this swap so much because it’s cheap, recycling, and requires creativity.  It’s from snack box, the brand is SMAX.  Actually, I don’t really like the taste of this snack, LOL.  I hope you’ll like it (I mean the postcard. 🙂 )

I know how she feels!  Once you get the idea of using packaging as postcards, you look at your grocery basket in a whole new way!

Snoopy!  I always love finding Snoopy in my mail box.  That’s from Cindi in Hawaii, and you gotta scroll down & look at all of the cooooool stickers & stamps on the other side.

The second row of cards both came to me due to a swap-bot “Disney postcard” trade.  The fireflies are from “The Princess & the Frog,” and the card was sent to me from a swapper in Alberta, Canada, who writes:

“…I’m about 3 hours from Jasper National Park & the Rocky Mountains.  It’s my favorite place to go…”

The Toy Story card is from a sender in Chicago, Illinois.  This guy left so much white space on the back of the card, I can hear the wind blowing through.  He writes:

“I remember seeing this film when it came out in 1999!  Take care,”

That’s it: the greeting, then that, then the signature, then an expanse of white space that represents about half or more of the card’s writable area.

If you know swap-bot, you know it’s a ratings-based system, and you may know I cringe every time it’s ratings time on the ‘bot.

Every time I send out something for swap-bot, I go for that heart, the “extra-special” rating that I think should be so easy to achieve, that I don’t understand when I don’t earn it.  The same week that the half-written card previously mentioned to me, I received a swap-bot rating for the  doubly-free card I sent to Minnesota.  It was a heart-less rating.  Here’s what I’d like you to do.  Look at this card, front & back, and let me know what I should have done to earn that heart.  Let’s begin with the swap instructions:

Send 1 free/ad postcard to your 1 partner. Theme of the card can be anything, no offensive though. Senders’s choise. It would be great that the card has some room to write your greetings. Add at least the swap name and your Swap-bot name! Send written and stamped.

Okay, now here is my card, back & front:


Lots of stamps, long substantive note, ink-stamped images & washi tape… what else, then? Should I start taping cash to my postcards, or what?  Please do help me out, here!

On the flip side, when it comes to being the person doing the rating, my policy is to err on the side of generosity: I INTEND to give the heart rating, and only withhold it in the rare cases when the sender is clearly hardly straining toward the bare minimum.  Like, for instance, on the nearly-empty card I described previously.

Oh, those swap-bot nerves…

Moooooving on…

Bottom row: the book with leaf card came to me via Postcrossing from Chernihiv, Ukraine.  The sender tells me that she is a web developer, but in her free time she prefers needlework.

Finally, we come to the terracotta warriors.  This comes to me thanks to a Postcrossing Foum Far East to America tag, from a sender in Guangzhou,China.  Here is what she has to say:

“This’s Terracotta Warriors, which was established by Qin Shi Huang and listed in UNESCO, is located in Shanxi Province, a famous ancient province in China.  This series of postcards is rare, since the seller said this’s only presented to the foreign reporter as a gift.  But I send one of them to you and want you to learn more about China.  Maybe the color is a little wierd, but it’s acceptable, right?  Maybe you should visit there one day!”

By the way, I found this History Channel write-up, 5 Things You May Not Know About the Terra Cotta Army.  The piece of info about Qin’s burial complex that really stuck with me?  “So far, archaeologists have uncovered a 20-square-mile compound…”  Whoa.

Taking a peek at the backsides– stamps, postmarks, stickers, & washi tape: