Monday, April 30, 2012

OFFICIAL Card - Netherlands

It was fitting that I received this card from Ellen from outside of The Hague today as it was Queens Day in The Netherlands. This portrait of Queen Beatrix was done for her 70th birthday in 2007. Her actual birthday is January 31,  however it is celebrated on her mothers, Juliana's birthday as the weather lends itself better to the many outdoor activities that take place. Ellen writes that many people wear orange this day. She also suggests that I check Wikipedia for more info - my favourite resource - how did she know! Which of course I have and this is what more I found out. This is a really neat portrait and a nice addition to my growing collection of my cards featuring Dutch Royalty. One of the stamps also features Queen Beatrix.

OFFICIAL Card - Lithuania

Today I received this card from Rokas in Lithuania. He printed this image himself. It is of the Curonian Spit. He says it is a fascinating sight even though it may look like a pile of sand. Under the sand dune there are 14 tiny villages that were buried hundreds of years ago. It is a designated UNESCO site. The card certainly came with some travel lines but is a beautiful sight. The stamp - let's just say it is the first time I've seen a spider on a stamp!

OFFICIAL Card - Japan

I received this card on Friday from Asuka in Tokyo, Japan. She writes telling me that is a good Spring day in Tokyo. The card is of the Kenrokuen Garden in Spring. Reminds me of this wonderful card  I received last week from JJ showing the blossom festival in Washington DC. The stamps on this card are really neat too - especially the post mark although it is a bit faint to see and even more so in the scan. It is circular with some neat drawings inside of it.

OFFICIAL Card - Netherlands

Another card I previously received from the Netherlands. This time it is from Wils, a 72 year old man who lives in the southern part of the country. I received this December 1st which was perfect timing to kick-off our Christmas celebrations. He writes that Santa Claus brings toys and presents for little children on his birthday, December 5. The writing on the card translates to say "Greetings from St Pete".

OFFICIAL Card - Netherlands

Ipie sent me this sweet card in mid-September. She writes that she lives in Assen, a small city in northern Netherlands with her husband, 5 kids, 2 cats and a dog. Sounds like a busy house!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Act of Smileness - Tam from Canada

I know, right now you are thinking "what is a random act of smileness or RAS?!?" I didn't know either until I received these cards from Tam. Basically, it is doing something for someone "just because" it will make them smile, which in turn makes you smile. Kind of like the card I received yesterday from Donna or the one last week from JJ.

At the end of last summer I was contacted out of the blue by Tam. She somehow came across my profile and saw that 1) I was trying to get a map card from every State and Province and 2) my birthday is October 31 - her favourite holiday. (Remember I told you that my birthday oddly plays a role for me in Postcrossing). She said she had a map card she would like to send to me to help with my collection. Well, you can just imagine my surprise when I received four fabulous map cards of British Columbia and one of Alaska! She writes that while she lives 400 kms north of Vancouver in a town called Kitimat she is only 90 miles from the Alaskan Panhandle. Funny, I just realized now she wrote kms when talking about BC and miles for the US. I do that with temperature sometimes! This was truly a fun week for me getting these amazing cards. Kind of like an early birthday.

OFFICIAL Card - Netherlands

Shortly after I updated my Postcrossing wish-list in February to include birds I received this card from Heleen in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The card shows a Wulp (Eurasian Curlew) and Heleen writes she thinks it is a "typical Dutch" bird which she often sees when she goes to the meadow. She then continues to tell me she searched Wikipedia when she was sending this to me (how I love that site!) and learnt even more about the bird and its migration patterns. She also wrote me that her 10 year old son just joined Postcrossing that very day. This is such a fun hobby and I know my kids have learnt so much from participating in it. I hope he enjoys it too! The stamps she used too are great both featuring traditional costumes. On the left is the dress of Surinam (a former Dutch colony) and on the right from a village called Spakenburg.

OFFICIAL Card - Taiwan

I received this card in September from Maika in Osaka, Japan. The card shows the Hakone Tozan Tetsudou. In English this mean Mountain Climbing Railway. Maika wrote it out in both Japanese characters and then English.- my handwriting can be sloppy at the best of times I couldn't imagine trying to write in characters - it does not look easy! Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers - this looks like it would be such a beautiful ride going through all those flowering bushes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Donna from Nova Scotia, Canada

So I have been writing this blog for about a month and a half give or take. It came about thanks to my sister in Fredericton. She Postcrosses too but does not do private swaps. I would tell her about cards that I had received  and she would ask me to scan it so she could see and it rarely happened. One day I just sat down and took the plunge into the blogging world. I forgot how much I liked to write - as a stay at home Mom the grocery list and notes to the teachers are about the extent of my writing. So far, so good.

A few weeks ago one of the pages I follow on Facebook asked if you blogged. I was one of many people who answered and was elated for the one day as my readership went from my sister and the odd friend to strangers and several of them to boot - yeah me!

One such person who stopped by was Donna from Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. Why she came back - well we would have to ask her LOL! She has left some nice comments along the way and in doing so let me know that someone was reading this thing. Last week she asked if she could send me a card and of course, I said yes.

Today I received this card from her. It is fantastic! She writes that her friend painted this picture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. While the subject is a serious one, the colours and design on this card are super bright and fun. More of her friend Shelagh's work can be found here. I so appreciate Donna taking the time to send this to me, once again making the big world that much smaller and friendlier. Who knows maybe she will get hooked on Postcrossing too!!!

OFFICIAL Card - Russia

Elena is the #2 Postcrosser from Russia having sent close to 1400 cards in 5 years. She sent me this one in early September. It shows the map and flag of Russia. She has marked where she lives in what she calls the Russian Far East. It is a tiny mark on the far right of the card south of Khabarovsk. In fact, if you look at a world map she doesn't look to far from Sapporo, Japan. That could make for some really interesting cuisine! The two stamps on the far right are ones I have received before but the other two fruit ones are new and fun. I really like shaped stamps even when they are simple circles like these.

OFFICIAL Card - Italy

It took a month for this card to travel last September from Bergamo, Italy to me. Stefania lives in the northern part of Italy and sent me this card of Tuscany as it is where she used to holiday when she was young. She writes "the card doesn't show the sea but I assure it's blue and beautiful". I have no reason to doubt it! Italy is high on my places I would love to travel to - the views, the history, the food & wine - need I say more!


Gina from Gahanna, Ohio sent me this card in September. It shows a night view of Columbus, Ohio. While I went to Ohio once for a wedding it was right on the shores of Lake Erie. Looks like a nice city.

OFFICIAL Card - Netherlands

While I have been enjoying revisiting all of my cards, I must say I will be happy when I am all caught up! While I am sure no one "cares" it is driving me a bit batty knowing I still have a hundred or so cards to upload before I reach that stage. So without further adieu.....

Late November brought me this card from Alida from Utrecht, Netherlands. It shows a street type view of what I am guessing are homes. Reminds me of some of the downtown residential parts of Toronto - Cabbagetown, etc. The stamps are all new to me and really fun. I especially like the one with the two hearts that look like lips!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Direct Swap - Helen from Netherlands

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Helen from Amsterdam. She liked some of the Niagara Falls cards I had sent out and said she had a card of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam to offer. I agreed and yesterday I received these cards from her in an envelope. The first is of the Royal Palace. It is interesting to see as it seems like it is right in the middle of everything. Rightly or wrongly when I think palace I think of Buckingham Palace which is so set back and fenced. This is neither. The next card has lovely purple flowers and is an ad-card from the Alzheimer Society in the Netherlands. The last card is one that Helen drew herself - impressive although the colours really don't come out in the scan. I've popped her card in the mail today - hope she gets it as quickly.

My scanner is totally acting up and won't let me scan the envelope - it is a stamp we've seen before and one day I'll try to remember to try again.

OFFICIAL Card - Belarus

Another card from November this time from Tanya from Minsk, Belarus. The scene shows the Svislach River, Housing of the Uskhod micro-district in Minsk. I don't know what you would really call it but the murals for lack of anything else on the ends of the taller towers looks really neat.Tanya writes to me about her hobbies and how she likes to spend her free time.

OFFICIAL Card - China

I received the next card from Xuan in China at the end of November. It shows a Pottery Figure of a Robed Warrior. I have so many questions when I look at this card - how old are these? where were they found? where are they displayed? why is their a piece of string around the right leg? This one really leaves me wondering!

OFFICIAL Card - India

India is another "rare" country on Postcrossing, having only 1,100 users. In comparison, Canada has 5,300. So, I was really excited to receive this card last November from Mansoor from Mangalore, India. The view is of Colva Beach in Goa. After the snow that is still melting from earlier in the week, this beach looks even more inviting than when I first received it. Mansoor, also collects stamps and has a blog which is a pretty interesting read!

OFFICIAL Card - Ukraine

No cards in the mail today so I will be catching on on ones I received before I started this blog as well as a new swap received.

Sergey from the Ukraine sent me this card last September. It shows an outline map of Krym (or Crimea) the autonomous republic of the Ukraine in which he lives, overlying the map is the coat of arms. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea. The sea views are simply stunning. There is no text on the back of the card, so a quick Wikipedia search and I find the castle on the right is called Swallow's Nest. Looks like a scene from a James Bond movie! Speaking of movies, the bird on the stamp reminds me of The Mad Hatter for some reason.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

OFFICIAL Card - Canada

Richard from Vancouver, BC sent me this card last week which I received today. Vancouver is a very beautiful city and one I haven't been to in too long of a time. This card shows the downtown Vancouver area. More specifically, the large white domed stadium, which was the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. I just posted last week of my love of the Olympics and the thrill I had being part of these games so the timing on this card was perfect. He also writes that the mountains in the background have some snow on them all year long. Note the hand cancelled stamps on the card. I have just learnt that my post office will do this too, does look much better than the barcode they print across.

OFFICIAL Card - Belgium

Yesterday I received this card from Vivi. I tried three times to upload it and every time I did the power blipped off shutting down the computer. Fourteen hours and five inches of snow later and I am back in business.

Vivi sent me this card from her home country of Greece, is shows a view of Santorini at night. She writes me that she is currently working in Brussels, Belgium and that her favourite food is green beans. She's right - that isn't a food I would expect someone to answer!

OFFICIAL Card - Hong Kong

Hong Kong does not have too many Postcrossers so I do consider myself very lucky to have received two cards from this country. This card came from Blue last November. The image on the card is of one of the world's largest Buddhas located at the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. A quick Wikipedia search tells me a bit more about the Tian Tan Buddha. The stamps too are wonderful.

OFFICIAL Card - Netherlands

I received this card from Hanne last October. She lives in Coevorden, Netherlands. That is the same city I received the funky water tower card from last week. On this card, it shows scenes from the Ganzenmarkt Festival which takes place on the second Monday of November. If I understand it correctly, two girls are chosen as "Miss" and "Mini-Miss" to help act as guardians and lead the geese to market in a mostly symbolic ceremony. Hanne writes there are always lots of people and usually bad weather. Looks neat!

OFFICIAL Card - Russia

This card from Olga in St Petersburg, Russia arrived at the end of February. It shows Griphons (sic) on the Bank Bridge at the Griboyedov Canal. I know I've said it before but everything looks so much magical at night.