Monday, December 31, 2018

Top 10

Jean's blog recently had its millionth hit! She asked me how many my blog has had - turns out I've a way to go to 1 million - 170,000 so far.

Looking at the stats page it made me realize it's been a while since I looked at which posts on the blog are the most popular.

So to wrap up 2018, here is the current top 10, and there's a new number one!

1 (-) V is for Vanishing Trades (2018) 

2 (1) Edelweiss Post (2016)*

3 (-) A-Z Challenge reflections post (2017)

4 (-) Artistamps from TicTac (2017)

5 (-) D is for Dragons (2018)

6 (-) Banana from Dorothea (2017)

7 (-) B is for a Butterfly from Belgium (2018)

8 (2) St Valentine's Day (2015)*

9 (-) An octopus named Hank (2017)

10 (-) Jean-san (2017)

(* indicates a former number one)

Do you have a favorite from the list?

Or maybe one not on the list?

And in case you were worried there wouldn't be a picture today, in honor of one of my favorite sets of stamps released in 2018, here is a pictorial postmark on an envelope sent to Eva (from her blog). This is the official postmark from the American Philatelic Stamp Show held in Columbus this year.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

S is for Shackleton's Safe Arrival

In 2016 Royal Mail released a set of stamps about polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance. This voyage, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, saw the Endurance trapped in sea ice, at which point the crew camped on the ice until they could make their escape in lifeboats after the ice broke up. They traveled to Elephant Island, and finally South Georgia - an incredible 720 nautical mile journey of survival at sea.

I received the stamp showing the expedition's safe arrival at Elephant Island. 

There are 7 more stamps in the set, and they are all based on photographs taken by the official photographer of the expedition, Frank Hurley. Here they are on a first day cover with a very nice postmark.

For more super stamps with an S theme, explore the links at Sunday Stamps.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A snow man... or is it?

Eva sent this great Christmas postcard of a very happy snowman.

He is actually made of marble, bronze paint and branches, by the artist Helmut Smits, and lives year round in the Odapark center for contemporary arts which is located in Venray, The Netherlands. 

He took his time to get here, arriving on December 27 after having been mailed out in early December.

We haven't had any snow beyond an occasional dusting so far this winter, so no chance to even think about building a snowman.

Have you had substantial snowfall yet?

Friday, December 28, 2018

Get anything good from (Sparkling) Santa?

The secular Christmas stamps and souvenir minisheet from USPS featured Santas taken from vintage Coca Cola vignettes. Did you know that before Coca Cola 'branded' Santa in red and white that his outfits were in various different colors?

I used the souvenir sheets on my December PTEX envelopes. And, since it is Christmas, I even added a little decorative writing - using Jean's very forgiving wrought iron letters.

PS I have to confess I find the Sparkling Santa stamps creepy! Despite that, I hope Santa was good to you this year.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Had enough to eat yet?

This one from Grace was actually for the PTEX November envelope exchange, and had a Thanksgiving theme. 

I think it is appropriate for this week, when I seem to be living on leftovers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Great exchange envelope from Kate R. I love the row of gold dots on the letters - very festive.

And a great little card inside - thanks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas House

Fabienne sent this creative envelope shaped like a gingerbread house!

It contained this lovely hand-made card which was full of snow flakes.

Thanks so much, it's a great piece, and traveled well with only a small tear from a passing mail monster!

I hope everyone has a nice Christmas. And if you don't celebrate, I hope you have a peaceful day.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas on Sunday Stamps

Royal Mail issued a very nice set of Christmas stamps this year featuring postboxes.

I have received one of them this year, although it was sadly disfigured by the dreaded biro.

There are a couple of countries that issued some stamps that I like (and will certainly never receive).

From Norway, this wonderful 3D scene. [Eva, it made me think of you :) ]

And this really unusual and, to me, outstanding ones from Luxembourg. They are titled Mr Winter Joy and Mrs Ice Crystal. I can only imagine the outcry if these were issued in the US :)

For more Christmas postage, check out the links at Sunday Stamps. And have yourself a great Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2018

A cardinal bird and holly

A great exchange envelope from Faye J featuring some bright sprigs of holly and a cardinal bird.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Stunning holly wreath

This stunning envelope arrived from Rachael. She isn't on my exchange list, so I'll have to send something to her this week.

At first I thought the design was printed as it is so perfectly done, but it is in fact all created by hand.

And on the back, when she realized it was upside down, she wrote this:

The good thing about envelopes is that there is no upside down on the front :) Thanks for the extra smile.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

R is for Rose and Rhinoceros

We're up to R in the latest Sunday Stamps journey through the alphabet.

I've shown the holographic United Nations stamp before, so today it is the turn o two of the other stamps on this envelope.

The rose is a 1c definitive stamp issued in 2009, and the rhino was issued to coincide with the 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This meeting, abbreviated to CITES CoP17, was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2016.

My scanner must have been acting up, so sorry about the grey lines. I will try and get a better scan in a few days. In the meantime, here is the minisheet this stamp came from, highlighting endangered African species, with the subtitle, Eye on Africa. A nice touch is the outline of the African continent placed at the center of the minisheet.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Happy Hollerdaze!

I love Jean! She has an awesome blog, sends incredible envelopes, and has a fantastic sense of humor.

Here is her marvelously understated exchange envelope for December. I doubt I could ever write that small and have it look so perfect.

The best part is the card inside.

To understand why this is such an excellent thing to receive, check Jean's blogpost.

Thanks again, Jean, this was unexpected and put a huge grin on my face. My own envelopes were mailed out yesterday, so should arrive next week, and I am hoping that my November envelopes arrive before Dec 25th :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

November exchange from Fatima

This came from Fatima as part of Jean's November envelope exchange.

The colors are perfect for fall, and the decorations very much make me think of the Christmas season. You can't appreciate the beautiful shimmer of the metallic ink as the scanner doesn't do a good job of capturing it.

Love how the colors match the liberty bell stamp, and also how nice the blue airmail centenary pops against the orange.

And to top it off, a lovely seal on the back that traveled really well, despite the envelope going through the franking machine twice.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Q is for Quilt

The uppermost of these lovely stamps on this nice fall exchange envelope from Carolyn C features a quilt. 

The 13c stamp quilt stamp was issued in 1978 and is one of a set of four.

If you're wondering about the 37c stamp, it is one of four from a 2005 set featuring New Mexico Rio Grande blankets.

For more quintessential Q stamps, check out the links over at Sunday Stamps.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

P is for Poinsettia

Having skipped issuing a global Christmas stamp for the last few years, USPS issued one in October featuring a poinsettia, also known as Christmas Star. These decorative plants are a fixture of the December holidays in the USA, and come in red and white varieties. They are native to Mexico, where they were used by Aztecs to obtain red dye. 

Are poinsettias part of the holiday decorations in your country?

I used it to send a Canadian fast-food related trashpo mini-book to Mail Art Martha, along with a related postcard.

For more P stamps to ponder, head over to the links at Sunday Stamps.

O is for Orca

An easy choice for the letter O, is this wonderful stamps from Russia.

Issued in 2012, it features Orcinus orca, more commonly called orca, or killer whale. They have no natural predators, and live in stable matrilineal pods. Males breed with females of different pods in order to promote genetic diversity.

For more outstanding O stamps, explore the links at Sunday Stamps.

N is for Night

Eva has a great mail project where she sent out envelopes with questions about mail monsters accompanied by these excellent stickers...

Here is the mail monster she drew on the return envelope, with the mail monster I created (collage).

And the stamp I used to send it back is the global rate moon, shown, obviously, at Night, with a dark blue background. It was issued in 2016 and the rate back then was $1.20. Then in 2017 the rate was cut to $1.15, where it will stay through at least 2019. (Image from Eva's blog).I like to think the mail monsters are more active during the night.

The Moon stamps come in a sheet of ten with a great background (none of the other global rate stamps look so nice, being printed on white).

For more of the mail monsters, click here.

For more nice stamps with an N theme, check out the links at Sunday Stamps.