zaterdag 26 december 2015

In: from Hungary

This colourful postcard was sent to me by Micu from Hungary. Micu has a great mail art project, named Mail A Smile. You can join until the end of this year, as it will stop per 1-1-2016. Well, when you read the last challenge, you know you don't need to send a smile only this month, but you can send a smile any time!
Fortunately there are plans for making a sequel to this lovely mail art project and I am looking forward to seeing what will be next.

The painting is named 'Ballet on the table' (1982) and has been created by the Russian-Hungarian painter El Kazovszkij (1948-2008).

On the back side a great mail-related stamp:

Thank you very much, Micu!

vrijdag 25 december 2015

In: Season's greetings

In December we usually send and receive nice season's wishes from and to family and friends. Via snail mail, but it is little by little replaced by email and other electronic message ways.
Of course stubborn snail mailers (like me) will keep on sending tangible cards.

Also dear mail friends - people who I've never met 'in real' but who are so familiar thanks to the postal services and our persistence to keep on using these services - made me happy by sending kind and beautiful christmas and new year's wishes.

Above you can see the christmas tree John has sent to me. And I had to look twice to see that the baubles are special ones, very suitable to this blog: mailboxes! Pillar boxes to be exact.

Also the stamps are matching. Above a winter stamp, and below... Pillar boxes! On both the stamp and the postmark.

Eva sent me a beautiful, nostalgic scene. As a child I used to play with tiny farm animals like these, and also Eva has good memories to this scene.

On the back side Eva added a Spanish christmas stamp with glow-in-the-dark stars.

From Alvin I received this postcard with kind wishes from a snowy Utrecht.
A beautiful scene, however this year it can't be true, as this christmas there is no snow at all in our country. Even not any chance: with temperatures over 13 degrees Celsius it is the warmest christmas day ever in the Netherlands, or at least since people started to measure it in 1901!

On the back side Alvin added one of the present December stamps. I think it a nice serie.

Thank you very much, Eva, John and Alvin!

Finally there's a card which I received for a short period of time only:

This holidays/christmas/december themed 'chaincard' is traveling from Philippines via Hong Kong, Scotland and me in the Netherlands back to the sender in Philippines. So I'll forward this card to the first sender soon, and meanwhile my own card is traveling in the same countries, where similar season's stamps are / will be added!

dinsdag 8 december 2015

In: from the United Kingdom

I had seen the 'Man posting / cauliflower' postcard before on Eva's website. I really loved that picture, and I am grateful that I can see and feel this postcard in real: the sender - John - has sent this card recently me!

On the back John sticked great mail related postage stamps, showing different stages of the mail process:

Some weeks earlier this interesting historical postcard arrived at my place:

On the back a lovely mail transport stamp, and information about the postmarks on the front side (click picture to enlarge).

Thank you very much, John!

zondag 6 december 2015

Sunday Stamps: toys or games

Today's Sunday Stamps theme is 'Toys or games'.

And today - 6th of December - also happens to be the day after 'Pakjesavond' ('gifts eve', Saint Nicholas' Eve), in the Netherlands the main evening in the Sinterklaas celebration. In this evening people give each other presents, accompanied by a personal poem and sometimes packed in a funny, mostly personalized way.
To be short: today in the Netherlands many children are playing with their new toys and/or games. An excellent day for this choice of theme!

I'll start with an older Europe (CEPT) stamp from Belgium.
Lucky me, I got it from a kind colleague, who had cut-out some stamps years before to give one day to someone interested, and apparently I was one of a few interested.

The stamps, issued in 1989, show marbles ('knikker' in Dutch :-) ) and remind me of playing with marbles in my childhood time. Nowadays marbles still are sold in toy stores, but I hardly (or: never) see children play with them... We have marbles at home but also my kids ignore them...

Talking about Europe, this year (2015) the Europa stamps' theme was 'old toys', so many countries have issued stamps on this theme!
See this website for all countries' contributions.

I received the Spanish stamp, a wooden train pictured, which in real smells a bit after wood:

The Dutch stamp was part of this stamp sheet, of which the other stamp shows the board game 'Mens-erger-je-niet!' ('man, don't feel annoyed!', in English better known as Ludo):

Meanwhile Dutch PostNL also has issued a stamp sheet on toys of today. Well, the Rubik's cube has celebrated his 40th birthday last year, and the game console might have newer versions nowadays :-)

In contrary to marbles, at least our son didn't ignore the cube, fortunately. And did you know that there even are international Rubik's cube (and other cubes) competitions?

See more great toys stamps on and via the Sunday Stamps blog post of today.

zondag 29 november 2015

Sunday Stamps: words, numbers

Today's Sunday Stamps theme is 'words and/or numbers (no pictures)'.
I had a few Dutch stamps in mind when I read about this theme, but while searching my stamps I found a lot more. Many from the 'gulden' era but also newer ones, issued after the introduction of the euro.

If I only were allowed to choose two stamps, then the following two would be my choice:

The one which fascinates me most:

Why it fascinates me? Well, this one inspires me to add / draw a lot of pictures! Korfbal, in English known as Korfball, to my opinion is the most emancipated sport, as men and women are treated equally: they play together. My late grandmother (born 1910) used to play it as a teen, and we used to play it at school. Alas it isn't a well-known sport and to my frustration it still hasn't become an Olympic sport so far. I hope one day it will be.
So if I would have been the designer of this stamp, I sure would have added the typical basket, a mixed-gender team, Olympic rings as an advertorial, or whatever. But the designer made a strong design by using words only. And by leaving most of the stamp empty!

And this one is one of my favourites, for it shows true words from a female writer, Belle van Zuylen:

'Lezen en schrijven verandert werkelijk het bestaan van de mens...' means: 'Reading and writing really changes the being of mankind'.
A little more of this written letter you can see on the 'postzegelblog'.

Well, still no-one has stopped me after posting these two, so I'll post more stamps on words-without-pictures :-)

One issued in 1986 for the 350the anniversary of the Utrecht University (where Belle van Zuylen happened to have been to):

Two about law, the new, that is, in 1992 reformed, 'Burgerlijk Wetboek' (Dutch Civil Code), stamp issued in 1992:

and the Wetboek van Strafrecht (Penal (criminal) Code), issued in 1986:

This one I love for it shows an important part of book making: print letters:

The stamp has been issued in 1977 for the 500th anniversary of the first printed book in Dutch language (which happened to be the Delft Bible).

Stamps on the edge of words-no-pictures and pictures are these ones:

Five different stamps issued on a ten stamp sheet, for five anniversaries:

In which some elements of pictures slightly have been added to the pictures, like staves in the last one, issued for 'Hundred years Dutch Composers Association' (I've sent out one of these with the accompanying text).

The twelve provinces (of which I've sent out four):

(Click to enlarge the following six stamps)

The stamps show words only - the pictures are besides the stamps themselves - but the words also form the province flags!..

From letters to numbers, via the stamp issued for the Court of Auditors, which in Dutch means 'Rekenkamer', literally 'counting (or calculating) chamber':

Some number stamps. Until the introduction of the 'forever stamp' it was clear what a stamp would cost, for instance in 2002 for mail up to 20 grams:

And mail between 20 and 50 grams:

In 2007 for mail up to 20 grams:

And then there was this '1' stamp. This year it's value is € 0,69, in the new year one '1' stamp for national mail will be € 0,73.

Finally an other nice stamp, issued in 2003, on a subject you might like: 'verzamelen' means 'to collect':

The tiny words in the background have to do with (stamp and banknote) collecting.

See more interesting and beautiful stamps on this theme on Sunday Stamps, and the links under that post!

zondag 22 november 2015

Sunday stamps: Children's stories

Today's Sunday Stamps' theme is 'children's stories'. I am happy to share with you this stamp sheet showing Frog and friends. The characters are from the children's stories of Kikker (Frog) by one of my favourite Dutch illustrators, Max Velthuijs (1921-2005).
More information about Max Velthuijs you can find on wikipedia, in this article in the Guardian and at this website.

My favourite picture books are 'Kikker en de Vreemdeling' (Frog and the Stranger), a story which deals with prejudice and fear for outsiders, 'Kikker is verliefd' (Frog in love), about being in love and intercultural relationship, and 'Kikker en het vogeltje' (literally 'Frog and the little bird', translated into English as Frog and the Birdsong), about the mystery of death and the need to celebrate the joys of being alive.

zaterdag 21 november 2015

In: from the USA

Already since my childhood the puffin ('papegaaiduiker' in Dutch, which literally means 'parrot diver') is one of my most favourite birds. I always had thought that there only was one species of puffins, but last year I learnt that the one I knew is named the Atlantic puffin and that there are two more puffins.

So I was very pleased with this recent postcard, which FinnBadger has sent me from the USA (yay, FinnBadger, I jumped another hole in the air :-) ), and to which he had added a stamp of the Tufted puffin (and a Frigatebird, the only one of the three who I have seen in real - an intriguing bird, too).
The picture above has been designed by famous American artist Charley Harper.

The card came in an envelope, made of a Charley Harper calendar page. I've posted the beautiful envelope somewhere else on the world wide web, but the first bird - tiny in an edge of the envelope - which immediately attracted my sight I'll show below. It is... a puffin :-)

Thank you very much, FinnBadger!

vrijdag 20 november 2015

In: from the United Kingdom / Morocco

Eva has sent me a lot of great mail. Alas I haven't sufficient time to post all interesting postcards that I would have loved to share with you, but every now and then I (try to) do.

This card has been reproduced from a stamp issued by Royal Mail in August 2009. The mailbox / post box is an 'Elizabeth II Type A Wall Box', the description on the back side says. With Eva I am wondering what Type B would be. Anyhow, I love to see mailboxes and this card is a great additioin to my postal postcards collection.

She sent the card from Morocco, so the combination of the card, sender, addressee and stamps includes not only the UK and the continent, but even two continents!

Thank you very much, moltes gràcies, Eva!

donderdag 19 november 2015

In: from New Zealand / Australia

From New Zealand I received this postcard showing the beautiful Australian Great Barrier Reef.
The postcard was sent by Devi. I didn't know the sender personally, but I got curious when I happened to read on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter about her journey. She is an enthusiast cyclist, poet and storyteller, and is traveling the world by bicycle and by boat to collect stories from people about water and climate change.

I decided to join the funding, and as a 'thank you' Devi has sent me this postcard. The back side of the card Devi had written at sea, while traveling hitching on a cargo ship from Australia to New Zealand. She stamped and posted the card in New Zealand.
Reading the card, in which she tells something about her journey, makes me dreaming of traveling that way, too! Well, probably I am stuck too much with the certainties and obligations I feel and have in my present life. A joy to read her card though.
For me, not born in the neighbourhood of a sea so usually not that much attracted to it, some of her words touched me, like these: "The sea has lots to teach me about surrender."

On her blog I found this nice post, and while enjoying her long text on the card I am happy that she loves snail mail, too!

If you are interested to support her journey monthly you can become a patron (see the website) or you can donate an amount once, see the kickstarter website.

Sunday Stamps: Famous people

I am a little late with posting, but fortunately today I could add my contribution to the latest Sunday Stamps blog.

The theme is 'Famous people' and I happen to join a 'famous people chaincard' project on instagram. In this project four people from four different countries are sending one postcard with stamps matching the theme, in this case famous people. We send our card to the next receiver, who adds stamps (and a next address) and forwards the card to the next receiver. This way all cards are passing four people, and have gathered stamps from four countries when they arrive back home.

So far I sent my card and received one, to which I sticked Dutch stamps, to pass it on to the next person.

These stamps I added to my card, showing:

A contemporary famous person, DJ Hardwell:

An other famous person of present times is the book character Harry Potter, actor Daniel Radcliffe:

And a quote from book character Max Havelaar with a picture of his author Multatuli:

Meanwhile I have received the first cards of two of the others. One postcard from the UK directly to me, and one from Italy to the UK to me.
So thanks to this international collaboration stamps of Italian and English famous people are united with Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, former queen Juliana and her grandson (now king) Willem-Alexander and his wife (now queen) Máxima (click picture to enlarge):

I had to look up Aldo Manuzio, and his fame is related to the written word, too: he has invented the (printed) italic typeface and the semicolon.

And the English queen is connected to DJ Tiësto, Harry Potter and again the present Dutch king and queen:

woensdag 11 november 2015

In: from Australia

Usually I keep the digital versions of my received postcrossing postcards on the postcrossing site only. This time there's a postcard which matches with Eva's postcard, posted yesterday , showing a lighthouse and a postmark on the front side.
It is the very first lighthouse card I received from Australia. Which shows not only a lighthouse and a postmark in front, but also the postage stamp!

The card and stamp show the Casuarina Point lighthouse.

Australia Post has issued many so-called maximum cards, of which I am happy to have received this one.

dinsdag 10 november 2015

In: from Spain

Received from Eva from Spain, this wonderful painting by Edward Hopper.
Eva wrote, and I totally agree, that the sky painted is extremely bright blue. Beautiful!

The postal services must have thought the postage stamp to be on the front side, as they put the cancellation in front. And see, above top right, what the postmark says: Azul! Which means 'blue' :-)

Thank you very much, moltes gràcies, Eva!