Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The end of the year

Well, we're at the end of another year, as well as the 2010s, and will have to try and remember to write 2020 instead of 2019.

Here is a piece of mail I sent to Eva celebrating the end of her Sunday Stamps A-Z journey.

Did you have any type of journey that you completed this year?

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The calligraphy train

The topic for today's Sunday Stamps is free choice.

I have selected this train stamp sent by Eva in Spain.

I had never heard of this amazing rail connection before.

From the Correos website:

It is a joint issue with China, and celebrates a new 'Silk Road' or trade route between Madrid and Yiwu. The cargo train has run the 13,000 kilometres between the two cities since 18 November 2014.

Twice a week, the so-called Silk Train begins its long and arduous journey to China. It departs from Madrid and runs exactly 13,052 kilometres, passing through France, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. When it reaches the Chinese city and trading hub of Yiwu, it unloads its merchandise and starts the journey back to Madrid.
During its journey, the train has to adapt up to three times to the different track gauges in the different countries it passes through. It is worth noting that the Silk Train is a much more environmentally friendly option than the same route by road, saving up to 70 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Today, this intercontinental crossing takes 16 days, something inconceivable in past centuries, when trade routes were mostly maritime.
This train does not accept passengers. It carries only cargo, products imported from China that we use in our daily lives, and Spanish products which are now in high demand all over the world, such as olive oil, ham and other Iberian pork products, Spanish wine, etc.
The stamp depicts the Silk Train, with some of the stamps showing the outward journey, and others the return.
The Premium Sheet depicts a map with the train’s route over train tracks.

The stamp on the envelope features the train outward bound from Madrid, although the envelope went in a westerly direction by air, with very nice calligraphy.
And the writing paper also suggests a journey, although perhaps one on foot or by car, as I don't see any rails on the map :)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A sparkling kraft Christmas from Jean-san

Jean sent this lovely kraft envelope. White looks so good against the soft brown, and the snowflakes are perfect.

With this really nice note - love the mix of case styles in one message.

Did you end up needing this weekend to recover from the holidays so far, or is it just another part of the extended whirlwind?

Friday, December 27, 2019

Merry Christmas from Greece

Momkat sent me this lovely handmade envelope.

With stars inside.

Did you receive Christmas mail from a foreign country this year?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Have a great Christmas

If you're a regular at the blog you'll most likely know I'm not a religious person.

However, I do appreciate really nice stamps with a religious Christmas theme, and these ones from Portugal featuring the magi are stunning. Plus they have camels!

They also look very nice setenant. The additional vertical stamp incorporates an LED in the star.

Have a great and peaceful day, regardless of how you do or don't celebrate.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Bananas Christmas

Patricia sent me this Christmas card. It does seem to reflect the craziness around Christmas this year!

I love this idea - hmmm, maybe next year?

Fortunately Christmas Eve is nice and quiet for me this year. Staying hime, wrapping presents, drinking hot chocolate. Maybe watch a film in the evening.

Has your Christmas been bananas? What do you like to do to escape the madness?

Monday, December 23, 2019

More sun

It is bright and sunny here, and we're about to have a mini-heatwave for a few days with temps up in the high 40s F (8-9 C).

Here's an envelope I sent to Jean with one of the O Beautiful stamps.

How's your weather today?

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Away in a manger

Up until yesterday I had not received any religious Christmas stamps this month.

Then this arrived from the UK. Post early is right - franked on Dec 2nd, but didn't arrive until Dec 20th - 18 days is a long time for mail from the UK, even at Christmas.

This stamp shows Jesus in a manger with animals looking on.

When I first saw this set of stamps I was not that impressed, however on closer inspection the little star details are very nicely done and they've really grown on me. My photo does not do the stamp justice.

The stamp closely resembles the card inside, apart from the fact that the ox is only on the stamp.

And another one arrived on the 21st. Pity about the pen mark. 

To see other Christmas stamps with a religious theme, check out the links at Sunday Stamps.

And merry Christmas to all the people who take part each week - have a great holiday.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The sun begins its slow climb

Today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Tomorrow we gradually gain a bit more light each day until the summer solstice.

Eva's card is a perfect reminder that even on a cold day warmer times will eventually return. Warm enough to play basketball outside in shorts and a t-shirt. This is a really interesting stamp. Not only does it have an unusual shape, emphasizing the basketball, it has actual netting on it, although you can't really tell from a flat scan. I am really impressed with how well it travelled.

Thanks, Eva, for this hopeful postcard that arrived in chilly weather.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Winter friends

Eva sent this wonderful Christmas card.

Accompanied by a stamp with gold foil writing wishing us a merry Christmas in the four official languages of Spain - Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Basque.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Janis Joplin's Wig Out

Fabienne had mentioned how much she likes the Janis Joplin stamps. I thought I had used all of mine, but found a few to surprise her.  And I managed to find an equally psychedelic envelope.

Monday, December 16, 2019


Earlier this year Heleen sent me this fantastic envelope.

The bird the cat is stalking is a goldfinch. The stamp is the Dutch entry in the Europa series for 2019, where the theme was National Birds. I believe you could also scan the little icon on the left to hear the bird's song.

The cats would absolutely try this if they could.

And the equally excellent card inside.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sparkling Santas

The Sparkling Santas were issued in 2018, and I have received a couple this year. One has the new wreath holiday postmark, and one has last year's postmark.

To see more stamps with the theme of secular Christmas, head over to explore the links at Sunday Stamps.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Birds in winter

I don't think I ever blogged these guys, sent quite some time ago. I sent quite a few envelopes out, these ones went to Heleen and Eva.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Holiday stamps and postmark

I've finally come across this year's US holiday postmark in the wild.

Shown with the US-rate Canadian holiday stamp.

I have to say I prefer both the domestic and non-US international rate Canadian stamps over this one.

Is there a set of stamps from another country that you really like this year?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

12/12 at 12:12

The full moon arrives at 12:12 am EST today, Dec 12th.

And this wonderful moon scene and related materials arrived in my mailbox recently - thank you, Fabienne!

On the back a moon-related stamp from Yemen and inside a great moon postcard and flier from an exhibition. My favorite subtitle on the inside - The Moon as a Person.

Do you think the timing of December's full moon has any significance?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Not all those who wander are lost

An envelope made from a calendar page and sent to Eva, with a famous quote from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

You may not be able to tell but the cat's eyes are yellow, which led me to choose the moon stamp.

Anyone doing any happy wandering this month?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

This block is not valid postage

The local post office kiosk is stocked with last year's Sparkling Santa labels.

Usually the writing prints to the left of the image. Perhaps the kiosk was moody this morning.

Do you prefer to use stamps or labels? 

Monday, December 9, 2019

2018 Decemberzegels

I'm not sure why I didn't post this last year.

Each year PostNL issues Decemberzegels which are usually highly anticipated and used on holiday mail.

Heleen sent me a great envelope with 2 of the stamps from 2018, which had the theme of kitsch and glitter. For some reason the scanner didn't like the pale blue background, and scanned them as almost white.

I love the cat ornament.

Do you have a favorite from the sheet?

Now that it is December, I am looking forward to seeing if any from 2019 appear in my mailbox.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Holiday wreaths

I'm not the biggest fan of the USPS wreath stamps, as I feel this theme has been used many times in the past, but they don't look too bad on these envelopes. 

Do you like them? Do you think they look better on the red or on the white envelopes?